1. Flying down Main Street
Expect top-seeded Sauk Centre to give its first-round opponent, Norwood Young America, fits. Since their only loss of the season, on Dec. 9 at New London-Spicer, the balanced Mainstreeters have ripped off 27 victories, all but two of them by double-digit margins. With an up-tempo offense that has no stars but plenty of firepower, the team’s five players average between nine and 10 points per game. That offense feeds off a suffocating press that racked up 465 steals. They’re not big, but they fly around the court.
Dover-Eyota was the preseason favorite in Class 2A and earned the No. 2 seed in its first tournament. It’s not like the Eagles are finally good: They are 160-37 in the past seven years, but had never prevailed in the difficult Section 1 playoffs. Last week, they nearly blew a 14-point first-half lead and needed overtime to defeat Plainview-Elgin-Millville in the section final. The team’s talented lineup is led by slashing guard Brandi Blattner and brawny center Megan Hintz.
3. The young and the old(er)
Minnehaha Academy has an extreme mix of seniors and middle-schoolers. The Redhawks’ five senior stalwarts are Angela Scharf, Lilly Thomey, Gracia Gilreath, Megan Thurow and Betsy Elliott. They mesh well with the youngsters, led by ninth-grader Terra Rhoades and eighth-graders Taytum Rhoades, Avery New and Nevaeh Galloway. A big reason is the influence of their superb junior guard Sarah Kaminski, who leads the team in scoring (14.1 ppg) and knows how to bring everyone together.