The AAU State Tournament gathers momentum Saturday with games all day—from 8 a.m. to 7:40 p.m.—at Jefferson and Kennedy. After the first couple of hours, we’re into the 2nd round of play, meaning that the matchups we highlight here are…
The AAU State Tournament gathers momentum Saturday with games all day—from 8 a.m. to 7:40 p.m.—at Jefferson and Kennedy. After the first couple of hours, we’re into the 2nd round of play, meaning that the matchups we highlight here are dependent on earlier results. If we miss on the results of the earlier games, then the matchups change later on.
8 a.m.—2018 D2–#16 Rise 11th Purple vs. #29 Central Lakes Thunder, Kennedy 1
This is a 1st round game, by the way, guaranteed to happen, pretty much, and it should be a good game to get the blood flowing. Central Lakes Thunder sandbagged the Prelims to get the #29 and last seed in D2, and for what? To sneak up on the unsuspecting Rise, maybe? Well, no, probably not. They forfeited their games at the Prelims but paid their fees and here they are, still standing. And, I doubt that the Rise are fooled. But, they’ll have their hands full. Central Lakes brings an imposing front line of Sophie Sowada, Olivia Lane and Jami Nelson, but the Rise probably has the edge in the backcourt with Grace Amacher, Madi Heiderscheidt and Sarah Ibarra. We’ve picked CLT to go all the way in D2, but they can’t do that if they don’t beat the Rise, and this will be a competitive matchup.
OK, now you can run out to Denny’s for breakfast, as we don’t have our next Saturday Special until 11:30 a.m.
11:30 a.m.—2018 D1—#4 Metro Stars Wiese vs. #5 Tayler Hill Elite 11th
Tayler Hill slipped all the way to #5 in the Prelims, splitting 4 games and losing to MSW 51-48. But, Masengo Mutanda did not play in that game or that tournament. Of course, everybody had their proms—Central Lakes’ entire team had better things to do—but Tayler Hill Elite without Mutanda is like a frog without, well, I forget. Of course, Morgan Hill scored 13, Elaina Jones 12 and J’Hyia Gaston 10 in that game. And, I don’t know if Jada Buford played, but her scoring output was 0. So, assuming both Mutanda and Buford are back, watch out for the Hills.
Of course, Rachel Hakes did not score in that game, either, and she has probably been MSW’s best player. Bottom line: Stay out of the barn, because this is going to be a barn burner. But, we see the Hills going all the way to Sunday’s grand finale.
This game of course depends upon MSW and THE avoiding upsets at the hands of Force Wyse and Northern Lights 11th, respectively. We think they will though we also think Force Wyse and Northern Lights will be more competitive than some of you think. Force Wyse has Emma Ogitchida, Tylor Huber, Molly Wenner and more, while the Lights have Ellie Gamradt, Taylor Vold, Katie Lundeen, Teeana Hakamaki and more. What a great pool!
12:40—2019 D1—#4 Crossfire 10th Theisen vs. #5 Stars Amundson, Kennedy 7
This one also depends on CFT turning things around against Northern Lights 10 after a lackluster Prelim, and Stars Amundson getting past Suns Jefferson. We’re reasonabley confident those things will happen, no disrespect to the No Lights and Suns Jeff.
But, if CFT doesn’t pick up the pace by a little after noon on Saturday, another surprise is possible. Stars Amundson matches up favorably to CFT at most positions—e.g. Kacie Borowicz vs. Taylie Scott at the point. I mean, not a slam dunk, but the Stars don't give anything up at a position where CFT is used to having an advantage. On the other side of the equation, not too many can match up with Kallie Thiesen and Hannah Purcell of CFT. But, Tori Nelson and Meara Beighley give Amundson a solid inside game, too. Still, we see CFT advancing.
1:50 p.m.—2021 D1–#4 Fury Blue vs. #5 Top Flight Metro, Kennedy 2
This depends on Fury Blue getting past Stars Voyce, and Top Flight getting past Minnesota Basketball Academy. If those things happen, Top Flight will win again with a solid frontcourt of Abigail Deming, Morgan Krumwiede and Abby Koboushek. Fury counters with one of 2021’s top 1s, Alexis Pratt. Top Flight keeps it going.
Then, at 3 p.m., a little lunch. Too bad they’ll be out of pizza by now.
4:10 p.m.—2020 D1—#4 Stars Antl vs. #5 Heat Hinck, Jefferson 2
Jefferson? Really? Check your brackets before heading across Old Shakopee Road to Jeff. But, that’s what it says, for now. This also depends on Stars Antl defeating Crossfire St. John, and the Heat getting by Stars McAlpine. If that happens, you’ll see 2 of the top posts among the 2020s battling head-to-head—Lindsey Becher of the Heat, and Emily Russo of the Stars. Both teams also have a great group of guard. Stars lead with Lily Wilson, the Heat with Cianna Selbitschka and Amme Sheforgen. We like the Heat by 1.
5:20 p.m.—2021 D1–#3 Tayler Hill 8th Elite vs. #6 North Tartan Coley, Kennedy 4
This one depends on Tayler Hill beating Heat Dahl, and Tartan beating Lady Get Shook Black. If so, then we’ll get to see if Nora Francois, Kendal Coley and Faith Alberts of NTC can keep Kierra Wheeler and Dora Okpara of THE off the boards. They didn’t in THE’s 61-52 win in the Prelims but, wait, Coley didn’t play in that game. So, this is a serious tossup. And, Jade Hill vs. Takara Mason at the 1 will be a matchup to see as well. Still, we think THE will advance.
At 6:30 p.m., you can get some dinner. Then finish off your day with a 2021 D2 matchup? Why not?
7:40—2021 D2–#19 Metro Stars Berkvam vs. #22 So Minn Fury, Kennedy 6
This one depends on MSB getting past Five Star Elite or Rochester Shock, and SMF defeating Force Wilke. But, the point, here, is to see SMF and to figure out how in the world they lost 2 of 3 in the Prelims and dropped to D2? Of course, point guard Macy Holtz was MIA in the loss to MBBA Seifert while 6-1 post Erin Lamb was missing in the loss to Fury 2021 Gold. Lamb and Jordan Kalina are a dynamic duo of 6-footers for SMF, who we expect to go all the way to the D2 title. A rematch with Fury Gold is not unlikely, and there you can also get to see Fury guard Jayla Reliford.
So, there’s some things to do on Saturday. It’s gonna rain anyway.