2013 CLASS AAA STATE BOYS BASKETBALL QUARTERFINAL SCHEDULE
GAMES PLAYED WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20 AT WILLIAMS ARENA
10:00: Sartell-St. Stephen vs. DeLaSalle (Seed 1)
12:00: St. Paul Johnson (Seed 5) vs. Delano (Seed 4)
2:00: Blake vs. Austin (Seed 2)
4:00: Grand Rapids vs. Marshall (Seed 3)
Examining the field: The good news is that the Sartell-St. Stephen Sabres will make their state tournament debut. The bad news is they have to face the top seeded and defending state Class AAA champion DeLaSalle Islanders. The Islanders are led by one of the top junior athletes in Minnesota, Reid Travis. Not only is Travis talented on the basketball court, he also was the quarterback on the Islander football team. They have only lost one game this season and that was to a team from Kansas in the Timberwolves Shootout. Last week, the DeLaSalle girls took home their third straight championship trophy. Can they bring another one home to their campus by the Mississippi River?
The second game features a perennial power from the Capitol City, the St. Paul Johnson Governors as the take on the Delano Tigers. The Governors have a high powered offense and are looking for their first title since 2010. The Tigers are back to state for the first time in 20 years and they're one of three teams from the Wright County Conference to earn a state berth. (The other two will be revealed in the Class AA preview). Will the boys basketball team become successful as the football team under the veteran leadership of Merrill Pavlovich and the girls softball team led for many years by Charlie Gross? It should be a great matchup.
Another first time team comes to The Barn in the Blake Bears. They have a tough task ahead in the unbeaten Austin Packers. A month ago, the Bears girls hockey team won the Class A girls hockey championship, led by Carly Bullock and Dani Cameranesi and they'll likely be in the maroon seats cheering on their boys hoops counterparts. The Packers are back in the tournament for the 27th time and are on their quest for their first state title since 1958. They have a number of players back from last year's tournament team and we hope former coach Ove Berven is looking on in heaven to see Austin head for a possible championship meeting with DeLaSalle.
Wrapping up the Class AAA quarterfinals in the Grand Rapids Thunderhawks and the Marshall Tigers. The site of this year's Hockey Day in Minnesota now turns its attention to their successful boys basketball team, led by an outstanding sophomore in Alex Illikainen, who averages 27 points per game. Is this guy for real? Head over to The Barn after work to find out if he's one player the Gophers should consider around 2015.
The Class AA preview is next.