With the very large exception of the final result, St. Michael-Albertville's 71-70 victory over Hopkins in the Class 4A championship game Saturday was very similar to many of the previous meetings between the two teams. Hopkins defeated St. Michael-Albertville in the 2022 final and had done so twice during the 2022-23 regular season.

"We wanted Hopkins this year," guard Tessa Johnson said. "Last year was a big reason why, because they ended our season on a bad note. After the two losses during the beginning of the season, we were like, 'They're not getting a third one. We can't let them get a third one.' So that was a big confidence booster."

Coach Kent Hamre said the Knights, despite building a 21-point first-half lead and maintaining a 20-point margin with 11 minutes left in the second half, felt a Hopkins comeback was inevitable. It was just a matter of staying poised when that run came.

"The last four times we played them, we had the lead," he said. "We knew as players and coaches, they're going to come back. Their pressure works for them every single time. They're tenacious, they get after it and they're so darn athletic and good. The difference this time was that we held our composure and we didn't get rattled. [Hopkins] had a couple of 6-0 runs, but the girls knew, 'Hey, we're fine. We can battle though it this time.' "

Miss Minnesota Basketball finalists

All but one of the five finalists for Miss Minnesota Basketball played for state championships Saturday.

Tessa Johnson won in Class 4A with St. Michael-Albertville, Nunu Agara and Taylor Woodson finished second in Class 4A with Hopkins, and Grace Counts won in Class 2A with Providence Academy. The fifth finalist is Kennedy Sanders, whose Chaska team lost in the final of Class 4A, Section 2.

The winner will be revealed April 8.

Mr. Basketball finalists

The five finalists for Mr. Basketball have something in common. All of them will play in the state tournaments that begin Tuesday.

The finalists are Boden Kapke of Holy Family, Ben Kopetzki of Andover, Hayden Tibbits of Wayzata, Nasir Whitlock of DeLaSalle and Nolan Winter of Lakeville North. Holy Family is in the Class 2A state field, DeLaSalle in Class 3A and Andover, Wayzata and Lakeville North in Class 4A.

The Mr. Basketball winner will be revealed in the days after Saturday's championship games.