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2014 Class AAAA boys basketball state tournament preview

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10:00: Tartan vs. Hopkins (Seed 1)

12:00: Shakopee (Seed 5) vs. Osseo (Seed 4)

2:00: Buffalo vs. Lakeville North (Seed 2)

4:00: St. Francis vs. Cretin-Derham Hall (Seed 3)

Examining the field The Tartan Titans are back in the state tournament, looking for their first state title since 2000. It won't be easy since they are facing the top seeded Hopkins Royals. Ken Novak, Jr. has brought another outstanding team that has balance and scoring depth. Keep an eye out for sophomore Amir Coffey, son of former Gopher Richard. If you haven't seen him play, take the morning off and head to Target Center. He will be a big value on your ticket.

In the second game, veteran head coach Bruce Kugath brings another Shakopee Sabre team to Minneapolis, the first as a AAAA school. They won the state Class AAA title in 2005 and could accomplish a feat in becoming the first school since DeLaSalle in 1998 to win state championships in two classes. First they have to face the Osses Orioles, led by center Ian Theisen. Can he help the Orioles win another AAAA championship trophy?

Next up is the Buffalo Bison and the second seeded Lakeville North Panthers. The Bison is back for the first time since they won the Class AAAA title in 2007. The bad news is they have to face JP Macura and the Lakeville North Panthers. Macura, who will play next season at Xavier can pile up points from all spots on the court. It's also been a great year for Panther athletics as both hockey teams went to state and now red and whie clad fans will head up I-35 to see the boys basketball team go for a championship.

Wrapping up the quarterfinals is the St. Francis Fighting Saints and the third seeded Cretin-Derham Hall Raiders. If you've been reading this story and wondering "Where's Apple Valley?" The answer is they lost to CDH in the Section 3 final. But basketball fans probably won't be disappointed not to see Tyus Jones. Instead, they will get to see an outstanding junior in Sam Neumann. In a Timberwolves Shootout game in January at Target Center, Neumann hit nine three pointers. It could be a tough day for the Fighting Saints, who are back at state for the first time since 2000.



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