STATE TOURNAMENT - March 1-3 - Grand Forks Alerus Center
Game 1: Shiloh Christian (21-3) vs. Divide County (17-8)
Shiloh Christian led by Head Coach Mike Dwyer and region 5 player of the year Joey Dwyer will look to continue their winning ways as they take on Divide County (17-8) who has the most losses of any state tournament qualifier. I like Divide County's athleticism and their top gun Andreas Holm. But Shiloh Christian brings more depth and scoring threats with Aaron Hultstrand, Matt Rask, Klint Miller and Donovan Lambert all able to score in bunches.
Game 2: Grafton vs. North Star
This will be a rematch of a December 15th game where North Star established the fact that they are the best team in the class. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPK446inWbA But this time I expect Grafton to put up a better fight. Jake Hanson and crew would like nothing more than to win another title in athletics this year after capturing the football crown in November. Jake Hagler and Daniel Grande will make that a hard task. Hagler keeps topping himself with personal scoring records this season and has inched his points per game up to 28.9ppg. Grafton's only two losses this year have come against unbeaten teams.
Game 3: Linton-HMB (17-7) vs. Berthold (25-0)
Linton might be the hottest team in the class right now. Last season they marched to the state tournament and they have gotten back this season. If you like watching star players you'll love to watch Tanner Purintun who was named all-tournament last season. He poured in 31 points in the region final and could take over if not held in check by Berthold. Look for Dan Yale to take that assignment personally. He leads one of the three unbeaten teams into the state tournament for Berthold. The Bombers won a convincing region final against a very good Bottineau team.
Game 4: Central Cass (25-0) vs. Beulah (22-3)
Both these teams seem to be on their second life. Central Cass breathed new life after almost losing in the region semis, but Ellery Bresnahan sunk a shot with .3 seconds left to keep the Squirrels heading toward state. Bresnahan and Matt Zimmerman form a potent pair for Central Cass. Beulah is also breathing new life avenging a regular season loss to Dickinson Trinity in the region finals winning 58-54. That marked their 13th straight win since a mid-season lull where they lost all three of their games in a five-game stretch. Trevor Zacher and Casey Duppong are walking double-doubles and could be the best one-two punch in this game.