CLASS 3A STORY LINES
1. Showdown looming?
Park Center charged into its first state tournament appearance ever, grabbing the No. 1 seed. The Pirates are the only team in any class making its debut on the big stage. Senior Cayla McMorris, a Miss Basketball candidate committed to Wisconsin, averages 21.8 points per game. McMorris gives the Pirates a consummate finisher. But table-setting point guard Hannah Schaub, Park Center’s leader in assists, will miss the tournament because of a knee injury. If the seedings hold, Park Center would face No. 4 Minneapolis Washburn in the semifinals. The Millers, a Class 2A state entrant last year, are led by Chase Coley, Minnesota’s Gatorade Player of the Year and the Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year. Coley averages an astonishing nine blocked shots per game in addition to 24 points per game.
2. Back in court
If seedings hold, No. 2 Fergus Falls and No. 3 Marshall will meet in the semifinals. The game will be a rematch of sorts from November’s Class 2A volleyball state tournament semifinals. Marshall swept the match en route to a third consecutive state championship. Several key players from both teams will renew pleasantries on the court. Fergus Falls’ Brianna Rasmusson ranks fourth in state history with 746 career assists. And the Otters’ Anna Monke has scored 1,000 career points. For Marshall, coach Dan Westby directs both the volleyball and basketball teams. Last fall’s volleyball champions-turned-basketball standouts include Kenzie Beekman (13.5 points per game), Marah Mulso (8.3) and Callie Graff (6.1).
Fergus Falls’ Bailey Strand and Monticello’s Grace Sawatzke both have eclipsed 2,000 career points. Chisago Lakes’ Bryanna Fernstrom needs 12 points to reach 2,000. Fernstrom, who committed to Iowa State, grabbed career rebound No. 1,000 earlier this season. Simley’s Kylie Brown, a Creighton commit, has more than 1,000 career points and rebounds.
DAVID LA VAQUE