Apr. 6—MOUNTAIN IRON-BUHL (19-4) VS. MINNEOTA (23-0)
What: Class A semifinal
Where: Target Center, Minneapolis
Outlook: Mountain Iron-Buhl, the North’s No. 2 seed, is playing in its 11th state tournament as a co-op and 10th in the past 11 years after qualifying nine straight years from 2011-19 (Mountain Iron also qualified in 1978). The Rangers are trying to reach the state title game for the first time since finishing runner-up for a second time in 2017. Minneota, the South’s No. 1 seed, is playing in its 10th state tournament — all since 2005 — and fourth straight. The Vikings won Class A titles in 2013 and 2019 but were denied an opportunity to defend last year after the tournament was canceled just before the state semifinals. … MIB, which has outscored opponents by an average margin of about 73-44, is ranked seventh in Class A and has won seven straight since a 91-63 loss March 8 at fellow Class A state qualifier Mayer Lutheran, ranked fifth. Minneota, which has outscored opponents by an average of 68-38, is Minnesota’s top-ranked Class A team. The teams didn’t meet during the regular season. … MIB, representing Section 7A, edged Cass Lake-Bena 50-49 in last week’s state quarterfinals as freshman Hali Savela scored 18 points and the Rangers swatted away Taryn Frazer’s 3-point attempt at the buzzer. The Rangers were up 3-2 less than two minutes into the game but didn’t lead again until Lauren Maki made a pair of free throws with 22.3 seconds remaining. … MIB is young, with no seniors on the roster, but very talented with the likes of sophomore point guard Sage Ganyo (17.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 5.8 apg, 4.0 spg) and freshmen Jordan Zubich (17.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 3.2 apg, 2.6 spg) and Savela (9.7 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.3 apg, 3.0 spg). … Minneota, representing Section 3A, advanced with a 67-34 rout of Houston as Abby Hennen and Natalee Rolbiecki scored 21 points apiece. Hennen, a senior guard, leads the team at 22 points per game while averaging 6.4 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.4 steals. She is also a good 3-point shooter at 36%. Rolbiecki is the only other Minneota player who averages double figures in scoring at 14 points per game.