The last time Roseville carried the No. 1 section seed in girls' basketball it didn't fully comprehend the expectations paired with it.
Section 5's loaded lineup upset the Raiders, sending Centennial into the section final and Osseo to the state tournament.
The top seed watched as Osseo cruised through the first two rounds of the state tournament and into the Class 4A championship. That was where the Raiders belonged, they thought.
"Last year we got it [No. 1] and were excited for it, but we didn't know what it meant. ... The feel to it, the sound to it, they didn't know what it was like," Roseville coach Jeff Crosby said. "Now we're No. 1 again, but there is a lot more confidence this time and the kids are relaxed."
Nine returning starters and reserves have begun preparing for Thursday's first-round home game against Irondale with a different mentality than last year. Senior guard Jacqlyn Poss is making sure this week's practices are much more focused and geared at correcting 2012's section semifinal lapse.
Though the Raiders, 24-2 and ranked No. 4 in the state, have improved on last year's 23-3 record, their section competition has been just as good. Section 5 is arguably the most well rounded. Six of the eight seeds (Roseville, Centennial, Osseo, Maple Grove, Champlin Park and Mounds View) finished the season above .500, and Centennial is the only team to defeat No. 1-ranked Hopkins.
Crosby is convinced that any of the top four seeds in Section 5 could make another deep run at state. "All the girls are eager," Crosby said. "There is a sense of urgency piece with the seniors."Hopkins in good spot
Hopkins' draw in Section 6 puts the Royals in good position to earn a shot at a third consecutive state title. The best option for a Hopkins upset is likely Minnetonka. The Skippers have been ranked in the top 10 most of the season but lost to Hopkins by double figures twice.
"It's time to pull out all our tricks," Minnetonka coach Leah Dasovich said. "Our biggest challenge with Hopkins is its size inside with [Erin] O'Toole."
The Skippers hope Taylor Fredrickson and Piper Jensen can fill the role of slowing O'Toole, something not many teams have been able to do.Simley stands tall
Simley has won its past five and 17 of its past 18 to jump into the Class 3A top 10 heading into the Section 4 playoffs. Height will be Simley's big advantage with 6-3 Kylie Brown and 6-2 Abby Kain. No. 2-seed Hill-Murray lost to Simley twice by a combined six points and could get another shot at the Spartans in the section final.
Class 3A defending champion DeLaSalle is the Section 3 favorite but enters the playoffs coming off a loss.