The 2017 boys’ hockey state tournament certainly lived up to the pre-tourney hype. It was upset-filled, drama-laden and will likely go down as one of the most memorable in tournament history.
But right now, that’s all it is. History. Less than two weeks remain in the 2016-17 winter sports season with three sports left to determine their champions.
Tuesday, we’ll get more in-depth on the girls’ basketball state tournament, which runs Tuesday through Saturday. The adapted floor hockey state tournament is Friday and Saturday at Bloomington Jefferson.
Which leaves boys’ basketball. This week will be filled with section finals, many of which will draw capacity crowds to gyms around the metro, the result of the expanding growth of boys’ basketball talent across the state.
Here is my Fabulous Four: four consecutive nights of must-see section playoff games.
Class 1A, Section 4 semifinal: Cristo Rey vs. Minneapolis North (at Anoka-Ramsey), 8:30 p.m.
• Perhaps the last chance to check out possibly the state’s least-known great talent: Cristo Rey senior Jericho Sims. The 6-9 forward with athleticism to spare has committed to Texas. Unless the Pumas pull off a monumental upset over the top-ranked Polars, Sims will be soon be playing deep in the heart of the Lone Star State.
Class 4A, Section 6 final: Hopkins vs. Wayzata (at Osseo), 7 p.m.
• The defending 4A champion Royals and their Lake Conference rivals split a pair of regular-season games, each winning at home. Hopkins is peaking, having won 11 in a row since a loss to Champlin Park on Jan. 26.
Class 4A, Section 4 final: Tartan vs. Cretin-Derham Hall (at Hastings), 7 p.m.
• How far can future Gopher Daniel Oturu take the fourth-seeded Raiders? They’ve lost eight times, but it’s a who’s who of losses: to Apple Valley, Lakeville North, Park Center, Wayzata, DeLaSalle, etc. The 6-9 Oturu is averaging a double-double — 19.6 points, 16.5 rebounds.
Class 4A, Section 1 final: Rochester John Marshall vs. Lakeville North (at Roch. Mayo Civic Center), 8 p.m.
• Lakeville North forward Nathan Reuvers, a Wisconsin commit (we don’t hold that against him yet), will try to lead the Panthers to their sixth consecutive state tournament appearance against highly recruited 6-9 sophomore forward Matthew Hurt and the Rockets. They were teammates on the nationally ranked DI Minnesota AAU U-17 team last summer.