Friday's prep boys basketball playoff games
NORTH WOODS (26-2) VS. LAKEVIEW CHRISTIAN ACADEMY (21-7)
What: Section 7A final
When: 7 p.m.
Where: Romano Gym
Outlook: North Woods is the two-time defending section champ and features the kind of depth you'd expect from a 26-win club. At the end of the regular season, six players were averaging at least 7.8 points, led by senior Cade Goggleye's 18 per night and freshman T.J. Chiabotti's 15.2. Goggleye, who has more than 2,000 career points, does just about everything for the Grizzlies, adding 7.8 assists and 3.8 steals a game. Senior post Chase Kleppe averages seven rebounds and 3.9 steals. Kleppe, the son of coach Will Kleppe, has committed to play college football at St. Scholastica. North Woods has lost each of the past two state championship games. The Grizzlies are ranked sixth in Class A and have won 17 in a row. ... Lakeview Christian Academy is another small school with big depth. Seniors Jacob Easty (19.9 ppg) and Brandon BarBee (19.2 ppg) are tops among five players averaging 8.2 points or better. Easty is a 45.5 percent (70-154) 3-point shooter. Collectively, the Lions hoist more than 20 3s a game. They'll be trying to avenge an 81-61 loss to North Woods on Dec. 20, a contest that was close into the second half. LCA has won seven straight. The Grizzlies ousted the Lions from the section playoffs each of the past two years. This is the first section final for LCA since 2013, when Anders and Bjorn Broman lifted the Lions past Cherry and to the state tournament.
CROMWELL-WRIGHT (24-3) VS. BELGRADE-BROOTEN-ELROSA (17-12)
What: Section 5A final
When: 7 p.m.
Where: Crosby-Ironton High School
Outlook: Red-hot Cromwell-Wright is seeking its first state berth since the program's lone trip in 1996. The Cardinals are on a 14-game winning streak, including 69-51 over Nevis in the semifinals, which followed a closer-than-expected 47-42 victory vs. Browerville-Eagle Valley in the quarterfinals. They're in the 5A title game for the second straight year, though their 2018 opponent, Hinckley-Finlayson, was wiped out in the semis by Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa. Junior sharpshooter Micah Pocernich (18.9 ppg), older brother Marcus (12.3) and senior Cameron Cahoon (10.4) are double-digit scorers, though other weapons abound. Earlier in the season, coach Bill Pocernich said he feels like Cromwell-Wright has seven starters. The Cardinals allow 41.1 points per game, easily the stingiest mark in Class A. They're averaging more than 22 3-pointers a night. Micah Pocernich has made 100 of 230 (43.5 percent) long-range attempts. ... BBE ended the regular season losing six of nine, but has played well in the playoffs, including Wednesday's upset of Hinckley-Finlayson in the semifinals. The Jaguars have been to state three times, finishing runner-up in 2011 and winning championships in 2012 and '14.
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