1. IN THE SPOTLIGHT ONE LAST TIME
New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva senior guard Carlie Wagner will be looking to lead the No. 1-ranked Panthers (28-0) to back-to-back state championships. They finished third in 2012. Wagner, a Gophers recruit, has averaged 40.2 points in her six state tournament games. She needs 89 points to surpass Janet Karvonen’s career state tournament point total of 329. Karvonen established the mark in 1980 after four consecutive state tournament appearances (12 games) with New York Mills. Wagner, who has netted 3,827 career points, enters the tournament averaging 36.5 points per game this season. The heavily favored Panthers, with a 58-game winning streak, are 92-2 over the past three seasons.
2. WINNINGEST COACH Back in FIELD
New London-Spicer mentor Mike Dreier has his squad back in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2009. He won his 800th game this season and enters the tournament with a career record of 816-148 in 36 seasons. The third-seeded Wildcats (24-5) are led by senior guard Taylor Thunstedt, the school’s career leading scorer. The North Dakota State recruit has scored 2,742 career points.
3. ESKO SEEKS SCHOOL SWEEP
The Eskomos will look to follow in the footsteps of the boys’ program — winning a state championship in the same year. This is the first time in school history that both teams advanced to the state tournament in the same season. The boys’ team topped Annandale 61-41 for the championship Saturday. Esko (25-5) draws New London-Spicer in its quarterfinal matchup.