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2014 Class AA state girls basketbaa tournament preview

2014 CLASS AA STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT QUARTERFINAL SCHEDULE

GAMES PLAYED WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19 AT MARIUCCI ARENA, MINNEAPOLIS

2:00: Pequot Lakes vs. New Richland-H-E-G (Seed 1)

4:00: Minnehaha Academy (Seed 5) vs. Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted (Seed 4)

6:00: Redwood Valley vs. Kenyon-Wanamingo (Seed 2)

8:00: Esko vs. New London-Spicer (Seed 3)

Examining the field: If you're looking for something to describe the Class AA field, you'll need only five letters NR-H-E-G. That stands foe the defending champion New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva. The Panthers are back, led by Carlie Wagner, who will be playing for the Gophers next season along with teammate Jade Schulz. They're the top seed, unbeaten, and the favorite to repeat as state champion. But first, they have to go against the Pequot Lakes Patriots.

In the second game,The Minnehaha Academy Redhawks return to state against the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Lakers. The Redhawks are looking for their first state title since 2010 while the Lakers will be headed down Highway 12 for the first time since 2009. HL-W-W has a balanced scoring attack led by senior Abby Miller., who will play next season at St. Benedict. It should be an interesting game to watch.

The third game pits a team that's in for the time under a different name, Redwood Valley but when the school was known as Redwood Falls, The Cardinals won the first Class A title in 1976 and are making their first trip to state from that neck of the woods since 1979. But they have a tough task ahead in the second seeded Kenyon-Wanamingo Knights. The Knights only loss this season was to NRHEG. Could there be a rematch in the championship game?

Erapping up the Class AA quarterfinals will be the Esko Eskomos and the New London-Spicer Wildcats. Last week the Esko boys team took home the Class AA championship trophy. Can the girls bring some more hardware to the Twin Ports area? First up is the Wildcats, under the leadership of the active wins for coaches Mike Dreier. It's the 15th trip to state for NL-S and they have an outstanding scorer in Taylor Thonstedt, who will be headed for North Dakota State next season. She's the school's all-time scoring leader and the key to a possible first state title since 2002.