When tournament season begins on Friday, some 230 days will have elapsed since Hancock, Providence Academy, Totino-Grace and Hopkins were crowned as high school state champions at Williams Arena in Minneapolis. Not sure about you but we are more than ready for the high school games to begin anew. Following an early Wednesday encounter between Duluth East and Princeton, the season tips off in earnest on Friday and Saturday at Thanksgiving tournaments around the state.
Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s will host Cleveland, BOLD and Sleepy Eye Public. The St. Charles tournament features Chatfield, Lanesboro and Southland. And in Minneapolis, Patrick Henry High School will host Minneapolis South along with St. Paul Harding and St. Paul Central. Most of the attention, however, will be focused on the two biggest events of all: the annual Pat Patterson tournament at Hamline University in St. Paul and the Twin Cities Thanksgiving Tipoff at St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights. If you want to see a ton of talented prospects and a flurry of great games this is where you need to be. Here’s what to expect.
PAT PATTERSON TOURNAMENT
Hutton Arena at Hamline University is the site of this venerable event. It’s our favorite place in the state to watch a game, if only for the throwback atmosphere and the historic vibes this gym offers up in abundance. The hospitality of the Hamline women’s team is an added bonus! The tournament features 14 squads and seven games per day, all on one court. The leading programs in attendance will include Minnehaha Academy, Benilde-St. Margaret’s, Minnetonka, DeLaSalle, Chaska, Centennial and Madison Memorial of Wisconsin. Also in the lineup are the likes of Orono, Lakeville South, Como Park, St. Louis Park and more. The first game is Friday at 9:30 a.m. and last one tips off at 8:15 p.m. They’ll do it again on Saturday on the same schedule.
5 Games to Watch
- Friday at 6:30 p.m. – Minnetonka vs Madison Memorial
- Friday at 8:15 p.m. – Minnehaha Academy vs Benilde-St. Margaret’s
- Saturday at 4:45 p.m. – Minnehaha Academy vs Orono
- Saturday at 6:30 p.m. – DeLaSalle vs Minnetonka
- Saturday at 8:15 p.m. – Chaska vs Centennial
Top Prospects to See
- – Chaska guard, Colorado commit, and former high school state champion is the #4-rated senior in Minnesota.
- – Michigan commit from Benilde-St. Margaret’s is the top-rated junior in the state and one of the best in the country.
- – The 7th-rated junior from Lakeville South recently committed to Kansas State
- – The crafty point guard from Centennial is #8 in 2024 and committed to North Dakota State.
- – Minnetonka sophomore is the #1 prospect in the Class of 2025 and has a pile of high-major offers.
- – The dynamic guard from Benilde-St. Margaret’s is rated #2 in 2025 and holds multiple big-time college opportunities.
- – The uber-talented floor general is ranked #4 among Minnesota sophomores and has a variety of top-shelf options at the next level.
- – The stretch 4 from Centennial was recently elevated to the Top 10 in our 2025 rankings and is improving fast.
- – The 2026 point guard is a Top 3 freshman from Minnetonka with a high IQ and the skills to match.
- – The lengthy 8th grader from Orono is coming off a standout summer. She’s among the best in Minnesota’s Class of 2027.
TWIN CITIES THANKSGIVING TIPOFF
A relative newcomer to Minnesota’s tournament schedule, the TC Thanksgiving Tipoff quickly established itself as a place to be on opening weekend. It began as a gathering of parochial schools at the University of St. Thomas. With the Tommies now in Division 1, and thus prohibited by the NCAA from hosting a high school event, the tournament shifted last year to St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights where you’ll find two dozen games over two days. It features an excellent field that includes the Class 4A champs from Hopkins, the 3A winners from Totino-Grace, and the 2A defenders from Providence Academy.
Also on the docket are the likes of East Ridge, Roseville, Holy Family, Holy Angels, Grand Rapids, St. Croix Lutheran, Mountain Iron-Buhl, Stewartville and Mahtomedi. Additionally there will be three strong programs from out of state: Dowling Catholic and Bishop Garrigan of Iowa, and LaCrosse Aquinas of Wisconsin. The tournament tips off at 10:30 a.m. Friday and continues through Saturday evening.
Games to Watch
It’s not Paige Bueckers vs Caitlyn Clark – a match-up of the two premier players in America’s Class of 2020 – as it was three years ago at the Tipoff but it’s still Hopkins vs Dowling Catholic of West Des Moines and it should be a good one. That game is scheduled for 12:45 p.m. on Saturday. Hopkins will also play on Friday at 5:45 p.m. against Bishop Garrigan, the 2022 Class 1A Iowa state champions featuring gigantic 6’3 post Audi Crooks, who has committed to Iowa State. These two contests are unlikely to disappoint. Here are 5 more to see.
- Friday at 12:30 p.m. – Eastview vs Roseville
- Friday at 2:00 p.m. – Grand Rapids vs St. Croix Lutheran
- Friday at 3:45 p.m. – Mountain Iron-Buhl vs Stewartville
- Saturday at 12:15 p.m. – Holy Family vs LaCrosse Aquinas
- Saturday at 5:45 p.m. – Mahtomedi vs Stewartville
Top Prospects to See
- – The athletic forward from Hopkins is the #2-rated prospect in the Class of 2023. A veteran of Team USA, Nunu has committed to Stanford.
- – The Michigan commit from Hopkins is a versatile performer with a ton of tools. She’s ranked #3 among Minnesota seniors.
- – The 2023 guard, rated 13th in the class, is super-smooth, highly skilled and can shoot it from anywhere. The Holy Family senior is committed to Providence College.
- – The 2023 guard from Grand Rapids was the first player in the class to make a college commitment when she signed with North Dakota State. She’s #13 in the class.
- – The 2023 guard from St. Croix Lutheran is a Top-20 talent who can beat you in any number of ways. She has committed to the University of St. Thomas.
- – The uber-aggressive guard from Hopkins, who holds the #2 ranking in the Class of 2024, is one of the nation’s very best juniors.
- – If there’s a better shooter in America we haven’t seen her. The lanky guard from Mountain Iron-Buhl is ranked 4th among in-state juniors.
- – Speaking of shooters, the guard from St. Croix Lutheran has been scoring from downtown for five varsity seasons. The 2024 #6 made an early commitment to St. Thomas.
- – The Eastview guard/wing is long, smooth and athletic, and her game has improved a ton in recent months. Now 12th among the 2024s, Savannah recently said ‘yes’ to St. Thomas.
- – The big power forward from Holy Family was a breakout performer last winter. We’ll see what the Top-20 junior has up her sleeve this time around. Land has verballed to Butler.
- – The big guard from Visitation is a Top 5 prospect in the Class of 2025. With size, length, athleticism and touch, Sam is a unique package who can do it all.