The MSHSL Class A Girls Basketball State Tournament opens Thursday with games scheduled throughout the day at the Maturi Pavilion on the University of Minnesota Campus.

At 11:00 a.m. top seed and Minnesota Basketball News top rated Mountain Iron-Buhl (27-3) will play #7 ranked Minneota (26-4).

This will be a great game.  The Rangers three losses came against some very good opponents.  They lost their season opener 77-72 to #2 rated Class 2A St. Croix Lutheran.

Mountain Iron-Buhl then fell to #1 ranked Class 2A Providence Academy 67-60 and #2 Class 3A rated St. Paul Como Park 82-62.

The Rangers breezed through their Section 7 with margins of victory of 76, 51, 62 and 37.  Breeze might not be a strong enough word.  In their Section Final against a excellent defensive Cromwell-Wright team they won 63-26.

Minneota's four losses also came against some very good competition.  The Vikings split with #7 rated Tracy-Milroy-Balaton during the regular season and defeated the Panthers in the Section 3 title game 44-33.

Other losses came against #4 rated and #2 seed in Class A State Tournament  Mayer Lutheran 61-45.  #8 ranked Class 2A Goodhue 66-56 and #11 rated Sleepy Eye 53-52.

The Vikings average 64.8 points per game and allow 39.5.  Mountain Iron-Buhl averages 83.7 while giving up 38.9.

The Rangers are shooting 41 percent as a team from 3 point range averaging 24 approximately 10 made three point baskets per game.

They are led by sophomore guard 5'11 Jordan Zubich on offense with a 26 points per game average.  Zubich has 121 of the team's 294 made three point baskets this season. She is making 47 percent of her shots from beyond the 3 point line.

The statistic I love on their stat sheet is assists.  22.7 assists per game led by junior 5'5 Sage Ganyo averaging 5.4 dimes per game.  Zubich averages 3.8.

Minneota is going to their 5th straight State Tournament (there was no tournament in 2020.  Or more accurately champion crowned.  The Vikings were supposed to play Waterville-Elysian-Morristown in the semifinals at The Barn when the plug was pulled on the tournament because of COVID)

The Vikings defeated Goodhue 40-31 in the 2019 title game.  They downed Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa 48-45 last year.  So they are aiming to get their third straight Class A State Championship trophy.

Mountain Iron-Buhl will have their hands full with a team that is always good defensively.

At 1:00 p.m. on KDHL 920 AM, 97.9 FM, FREE KDHL app the #2 MBBN rated undefeated Hayfield Vikings (31-0) will try to prove they are better than their #5 seed.

KDHL spoke briefly during halftime of the Vikings boys game Saturday with girls Head Coach Kasey Krekling. He said they were surprised to get the five seed,  "But every team is good at state so we just have to go and take it one game at a time.  We are going to play hard and see what happens."

#4 seed Cass Lake-Bena (28-2) is a perennial entrant out of Section 8 into the State Tournament. They were in the abbreviated season 2021 State Tournament last year.

The Panthers have won 18 straight games, defeated Warren Alvarado-Oslo 71-53 in their Section final Friday night at REA in Thief River Falls.  They had a more difficult road to state with a double overtime 65-60 win in the semifinals against Fertile-Beltrami.

Cass Lake-Bena fell to Mountain Iron-Buhl 61-56 at home and #9 ranked Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa 81-57 at St. Cloud Tech High School.

The Panthers have scored over 100 points a couple of times this season so they are very good at scoring.  Cass Lake-Bena is averaging 76.3 points while allowing 50.6 per game.

The Vikings have defended superbly throughout the season allowing 38.9 points per game while scoring 67.1.  The most points scored against them in Sections was 49.

Hayfield won all Section games by double digits with margins of victory 54, 38, 11 and 24 points.

3:00 p.m. #2 seed and #4 ranked Mayer Lutheran (26-4) takes on Section 4 Champion United Christian Academy (23-4).

The Crusaders were the State Volleyball Champions last fall defeating Minneota in the title match.  They average 63.7 and allow 45.3 points per game.

Mayer Lutheran won Section 2 by defeating defending Section Champions Sleepy Eye St. Mary's 58-45.

The Crusaders had double digit wins throughout their playoff run with margins of victory of 31, 25, 11 and 13.

The Thunder opened their season on KDHL Radio with a 48-35 win over Bethlehem Academy.  They also defeated Randolph in an overtime thriller and lost to Lanesboro.

Unranked United Christian Academy scores 54.6 while giving up 35.4 points per contest.  The Crusaders outlasted Legacy Christian 39-36 in their Section Final. Their other two games the margin of victory was 44 and 25.

5:00 p.m. #3 seed, #3 rated Hancock (27-1) faces unranked Nevis (19-8).  The Owls only loss was against West Central Area 73-64.  Margins of victory in playoff games have been 60, 31, 7 and 5.

Hancock averages 67.8 points while allowing 35.  They have won 14 straight.

Nevis scores 53.4 and gives up 47.3 points per contest.  The Tigers were not rated and defeated Braham in the Section Final 38-27 after upsetting #9 ranked Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa 48-47 in the semifinals in Wadena.

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