1. Family ties
Intrafamily connections abound for the North Woods boys' basketball team this year. Jerry Chiabotti, an assistant coach on the team that hails from Cook in northeastern Minnesota, will be coaching two of his grandsons, Dylan and TJ, in the state tournament. Chiabotti was the head coach at Bigfork High School from the early 1970s to 1996 and is in the Minnesota Coaches Hall of Fame. Additionally North Woods head coach Will Kleppe has a son, Chase, playing for the Grizzlies.
2. Back with scoring power
Lake Park-Audubon, in its second tournament appearance, has a familiar opponent in the first round: Goodhue. Last year the Raiders lost to the Wildcats 54-29. Lake Park-Audubon returns their two leading scorers from that game, Jesse Bergh and Mitch Hall. Bergh, a 6-10 forward, scored a school-record 50 points in a March 11 section quarterfinal victory over Waubun.
3. Streaking to state
Nevis (28-1) hasn't lost a game since Dec. 27. The latest victory in the Tigers' 23-game streak was the section final against Browerville, which represented Section 5 in last season's state tournament. Nevis' only loss was to Cass Lake-Bena, whom the Tigers defeated the next two times the teams faced each other.