1. Goodhue tradition
Goodhue (27-4), the No. 1-ranked team for most of the season, is making its sixth appearance in the tournament. It has won at least 20 games in seven consecutive years. Starters Megan Ryan, Maddy Miller, Sydney Lodermeier and Haley Lexvold are all either sisters or cousins of players on previous state tournament teams.
2. Lucky No. 7
Marantha Christian Academy, despite having a young bench, has more tournament experience than any team in the Class 1A bracket. The Mustangs are making their seventh consecutive state tournament appearance. Star point guard Alaina Jarnot averages 21 points per game. She has scored more than 2,000 points in her career and also owns the state record for career assists with 1,042. The Mustangs have defeated first-round opponent Southwest Minnesota Christian twice already this season by scores of 88-59 and 77-68.
3. Doing it all
Southwest Minnesota Christian averages almost three times as many bench points as their opponents. A possible explanation? All 13 players on the team’s roster are multisport athletes on top of participating in band or choir, so this deep group is accustomed to performing at a high level. The Eagles have three starters averaging double-digit points in Chantel Groen (13.9), Ann Pater (11.8) and Brooklyn DeKam (10.6).
4. Going for history
Sleepy Eye, which first made the state tournament in 2012, is hoping this year’s squad can further assert itself as the best in school history. The Indians won the Tomahawk Conference Championship for the first time since 1988-89. They went 16-0 in conference play, and their 27-2 overall mark is the best in school history.
5. Three first-timers
Sacred Heart, Wheaton/Herman-Norcross and Cromwell-Wright are all playing in the state tournament for the first time in school history. Wheaton made two trips to state, the last in 1987, but this is the program’s first trip under its present name. Similarly, Cromwell made two state tournaments, the last in 2004, but the team has not made state under this name. Wheaton/Herman-Norcross and Cromwell-Wright meet in the first round Thursday at 1 p.m.