1. Rangers ready to take next step
Mountain Iron-Buhl, ranked No. 1, is appearing in its seventh consecutive state tournament. The Rangers have only won their quarterfinal matchup twice during that span, finishing in third place last year and runner-up in 2012. Senior guard Mya Buffetta will accomplish a rare feat when she steps on the court for the opening tip against Southwest Christian. Buffetta will be a starter on six consecutive state tournament teams.
2. Red Lake finally breaks through
The No. 8-ranked Warriors, making their first state tournament trip, no longer have to play second fiddle to the boys’ program.
They do resemble the boys’ team in that they can put up a lot of points in a hurry. Riding a 15-game winning streak and averaging 82.8 points per game, Red Lake has topped 100 points three times this season, hitting 108 twice.
The Warriors are led by senior guard Grace White, their first Division I recruit.
She is headed to the University of Denver.
3. ’16 champion, runner-up return
Goodhue, which finished first a year ago, and Maranatha, which finished second, are back with plenty of tournament-experienced players.
No. 2-ranked Goodhue has three- and four-year varsity players who played prominent roles on the state championship team.
Some also played on the third-place team in 2014. No. 6-ranked Maranatha has 14 players back from last year’s group.