Maranatha is back in familiar territory.
The Class 1A, No. 6-ranked Mustangs advanced to the girls' basketball state tournament for the eighth consecutive year with a 79-73 victory over Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity in the Section 4 championship Friday night at Anoka-Ramsey Community College. They have been the state tournament runner-up each of the past two seasons.
Sophomore guard Breianna Smestad scored 21 points to lead four Maranatha players in double figures.
Senior guard Steph Lohse had a game-high 23 points for Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity.
In other Class 1A section championship games:
• Section 6: Perennial power No. 5-rated Ada-Borup knocked off the last remaining unbeaten in the class with a 50-44 victory over No. 3-ranked Wheaton-Herman-Norcross.
• Section 8: No. 8-rated Red Lake earned its first state tournament berth with a 67-52 triumph over Sacred Heart. The Warriors are riding a 15-game winning streak.
• Section 4: No. 7-ranked Minnehaha Academy garnered its eighth state tournament appearance in the last nine years with a 62-44 victory over St. Croix Lutheran.
• Section 8: Top-ranked Roseau (29-0) beat Staples-Motley 68-48 behind the Borowicz sisters. Sophomore Kacie (16 points), senior Kiley (12) and eighth grader Katie (11) combined for 39 points. The Rams are the lone unbeaten team remaining in the class.
• Section 3/Semifinals: Junior guard Tre Jones had 30 points, 14 rebounds, six assists and five steals, leading No. 3 Apple Valley to an easy 80-58 victory over Burnsville. The Eagles raced to a 42-18 halftime lead. ... Rosemount overcame a 15-point deficit in the first half to knock off Eastview 60-55. The Irish were led by senior forward Luke Loehr's 23 points.
• Blake is requesting to opt up to Class 2A in three sports, most notably its successful yet often scrutinized girls' hockey program. In addition to girls' hockey, Blake wants to move up in boys' hockey and boys' tennis, according to a news release posted Friday on its website. The Minnesota State High School League will make its decision by the end of March.
• Brian Urick is stepping down from his position as Minnetonka head boys' hockey coach after 10 seasons.