Thursday's prep girls basketball playoff game
MOUNTAIN IRON-BUHL (25-5) VS. GOODHUE (24-6)
What: Class A state tournament quarterfinal
When: 3 p.m.
Where: Maturi Pavilion, Minneapolis
Outlook: MIB didn't earn a seed despite being ranked second in the Minnesota-scores.net's QRF rankings, not to mention the fact the Rangers are playing in their ninth state tournament. Coach Jeff Buffetta said a 55-54 loss to close the regular season to Heritage Christian Academy — No. 1 in the QRF and seeded fourth at the state tournament — no doubt cost them. Goodhue is making its eighth appearance since 1996 and won championships in 2016 and 2017, with the latter title coming at MIB's expense. Goodhue and MIB met in the Kasson-Mantorville Invite on Jan. 12, with the Wildcats winning 53-43. That's the type of game they like. Goodhue has held opponents to 40.6 points per game. ... Mountain Iron-Buhl advanced with a 50-31 victory over Cromwell-Wright last week as the Rangers held the Cardinals to a season-low for points after implementing a zone for the first time under Buffetta. Senior guard Macy Savela led the way with 19 points for MIB. The teams had split during the regular season, with Cromwell-Wright winning 78-58 on Jan. 21 in Cromwell, something that lit a fire in the Rangers. "That loss was definitely a motivator," said Savela, who will play her college basketball at Jamestown (N.D.). "We left it all out there." ... The Rangers have nice balance and unmatched experience, with four senior starters who were on varsity in seventh grade: Savela (13.7 points per game, 4 assists per game), Allie Negen (15.8 ppg, 6.2 rebounds per game), Madisen Overbye (12.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg) and Mattison Bennett (7.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg). ... Goodhue advanced with a 52-33 victory over Lyle/Pacelli in the Section 1 championship game, the Wildcats' fifth straight win. Goodhue also has good balance, with Lexie Lodermeier (12.9 ppg), Kate Opsahl (11.1 ppg) and Joslyn Carlson (10.3 ppg) all averaging in double figures, while Lodermeier (8.2 rpg), a 6-foot-3 senior center, is tops in rebounding. Opsahl and Lodermeier are Goodhue's only seniors.