Why Orono will win: Guard Tori Andrew, who is committed to Yale, ranks as arguably the top player in Class 3A. After scouting the Orono/Alexandria semifinal, Holy Angels coach Dan Woods said, “I was looking forward to what you’d have to do defensively to stop [Andrew]. She’s a nice player. I love her shot.”
Why Winona will win: If Winona’s burnt orange uniforms don’t conjure images of women’s college basketball powerhouse Tennessee, the Winhawks’ imposing height should. Starting forwards Danneka Voegeli and Abby Winter along with guard Eden Nibbelink are all 6 feet or taller. They combined for 28 points, 25 rebounds and seven blocked shots in beating Holy Angels 58-43 in the semifinals.
Key to the game: For a No. 1 seed in its first title game, Orono expects to have fun and play relaxed. No. 3 seed Winona seeks redemption after falling last year in the championship game to Holy Angels. “I think with our group of nine seniors, [Orono] won’t be able to break our chemistry that we have and that’s really what will make us come out on top, hopefully,” Nibbelink said.
One thing to know: Orono beat Alexandria 50-34 in the semifinals using its five starters until the game’s final minute. Winona survived two state tournament opponents in DeLaSalle and Holy Angels, who played strong press defense.
DAVID LA VAQUE