Finals are a long way off, but some section playoffs are ready to start.
If it’s February, it must be … well, winter of course, but also the beginning of the end of the winter sports season.
There are still 47 days until the final championship games — girls’ basketball will conclude March 22 — but the first section tournaments start this week, with Alpine and Nordic Ski Racing holding section meets and girls’ hockey playoffs commencing.
Here’s a rundown of what’s coming up this week:
Most of the games this week involve high and low seeds, meaning there are few compelling matchups. Still, there are a few of note.
• Class 2A, Section 1: A probable matchup between No. 1-seeded Lakeville North and No. 4-seeded Lakeville South looms in Saturday’s semifinals. Both will have to first get past Rochester foes Mayo and Century, however.
• Class 2A, Section 6: How formidable is Wayzata, the No. 4 seed in the section? The Trojans were 15-0-1 outside of the Lake Conference but just 2-6 in it. In their haste to prove their worth, they cannot overlook No. 5-seeded Maple Grove, whom they face in the quarterfinals Saturday at Parade Ice Gardens. They needed a late goal by Paige Sorenson to beat the Crimson 2-1 in a December meeting.
• Class 1A, Section 5: Despite beating Mound-Westonka 2-0 in the season finale Saturday, Totino-Grace earned the No. 5 seed and will be forced to travel to play the White Hawks again in the section quarterfinals at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Alpine section meets
• Section 4: Wednesday, at Wild Mountain, 9 a.m.
• Section 5: Thursday, at Afton Alps, 9 a.m.
• Section 6: Tuesday, at Buck Hill, 9 a.m.
• Section 7: Tuesday, at Giants Ridge, 9 a.m.
Nordic section meets
• Section 1: Tuesday, at Valleywood G.C., 9 a.m.
• Section 2: Thursday, at Theodore Wirth Park, 10 a.m.
• Section 3: Tuesday, at Theodore Wirth Park, 9:30 a.m.