The Goodhue Wildcats girls basketball team is the #2 seed in the State Class A Girls Basketball Tournament and begin play Thursday at 3:00 p.m. They play at the Maturi Pavilion on the University of Minnesota Campus.  Their opponent is a familiar one.  Mountain Iron-Buhl (25-5) played the Wildcats at the Kasson-Mantorville Showcase Tournament on January 12.  Goodhue (24-6) won the game 53-43.

Goodhue's six losses this season were all against teams that were state ranked when they faced them.  They fell to Red Wing (ranked #1 the final few weeks of the year)  55-51 the first weekend of the season.  Lost to Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa 46-44 at a Holiday Tournament the Wildcats hosted in December.  They split games with H-V-L opponents Lake City and Zumbrota-Mazeppa.  Lost to Grand Meadow 49-42 in Super Larks country without starter freshman Jody Carlson and were defeated by Rochester Lourdes 63-51 their last game of the regular season before winning the overall H-V-L title by avenging their earlier loss to Lake City.

Mountain Iron-Buhl also suffered losses only to state ranked teams and avenged a loss in the playoffs.  The Rangers fell 76-75 to #2 Class AA State Ranked Roseau.  Lost to #9 state ranked Cromwell-Wright by 20 and defeated them by 19 in the Section 7A title game.  #14 Class AA rated Maranatha Christian beat them 68-41 and they lost their regular season final 55-54 to #8 ranked Class A Heritage Christian, the winner of the Section 4A title.

Top seed in the Class A Tournament and ranked #1 all season long is the Minneota Vikings ( 27-1).  Their only loss to a South Dakota team Brandon Valley 59-39.  How good must that team be?  Minneota breezed through their Section Tournament with wins by 39 over Canby, 33 over Yellow Medicine East, 16 over #18 ranked Lac qui Parle Valley and 18 over #17 rated SW MN Christian.

The Vikings begin the tournament at 11:00 a.m. Thursday in the Maturi Pavilion and play Section 8A Champion Red Lake ( 21-7).  The Warriors losses all came to either state ranked teams or much larger schools.  They avenged a loss to #12 Class A rated Stephen-Argyle by defeating them for the Section title.  Red Lake lost by 8 and beat Stephen-Argyle by 15.  They fell to Class 4A Osseo in double overtime 98-94 and were defeated by Class 4A Moorhead 81-72.  They also lost twice to #14 Class A rated Pine River-Backus.

The #3 seed in the State Class A Tournament is the Menahga Braves (29-1).  The Braves only loss to #3 Class AA state rated Eden Valley-Watkins 53-42.  The road to state was not as easy for the Braves with a one point win over Pine River-Backus in the semis and a 7 point victory over #10 Class A rated Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa in the championship game.

Menahga opens with Section 2A Champion the BOLD Warriors (22-5).  BOLD stands for the communities of Bird Island, Olivia and Lake Lillian and the D is for district. The Warriors beat Cleveland by 36 to open their Section Tournament then defeated Central MN Christian by 15 for wins over Sleepy Eye St. Mary's by 4 and St. Clair/Loyola by 22.   BOLD losses were to Sauk Centre twice, Minneota, Prior Lake and Minnewaska Area.

#4 seed Heritage Christian Academy (26-2) is rated #8 in the latest Minnesota Basketball News rankings in Class A.  The Eagles only losses were against Class AA #1 ranked Minnehaha Academy by 34 and Class AA #14 rated Maranatha Christian by 12.  Heritage Christian had little trouble in their Section Tournament winning by 47 points over West Lutheran, 35 over Mayer Lutheran and 13 over Christ Household of Faith in the title game.  The Eagles play 1:00 p.m. Thursday at the Maturi Pavilion against #5 seed the Ada Borup/Norman County West Cougars (26-2).

The Cougars two losses were to #4 Class A Pelican Rapids 57-54 and #2 Class AA Roseau 74-64.  Ada-Borup/Norman County West opened their tournament run with a 40 point victory over New York Mills beat Park Christian by 12 before a 49-46 win over Pelican Rapids and a 32 point blowout of #13 Class A Parkers Prairie.

In summary this is going to be one heck of a tournament with #1 Minneota, #3 Goodhue, #5 Menahga, #6 Ada-Borup/Norman County West, $8 Heritage Christian, #11 Mountain Iron-Buhl and #15 BOLD.  It's hard to believe Red Lake wasn't rated in the latest Minnesota Basketball News Class A rankings when you look at their body of work.

KDHL will be broadcasting the Goodhue games in the tournament.  Section 1 has done very well in recent years with the past three state title holders.  Lyle/Pacelli last year and Goodhue the previous two seasons.