HIBBING (27-2) VS. DELASALLE (21-5)
What: Class AAA state tournament quarterfinal
When: 10 a.m.
Where: Maturi Pavilion, Minneapolis
Outlook: Hibbing didn’t earn a seed despite an 18-game winning streak, capped by the Bluejackets’ avenging their only losses of the season by beating Grand Rapids 55-48 in the Section 7AAA final last week. Their reward is a first-round matchup against the top-seeded Islanders, who are making their 10th state tournament trip since 2006. Coaches vote to determine the top five seeds, with the remaining slots filled via a blind draw. Grand Rapids fell to DeLaSalle 67-59 on Dec. 15 in Grand Rapids. Hibbing is making its fifth state tournament appearance and first since 2007. “It is what it is,” Hibbing coach Dave LaCoe said. “We got to play the team that’s in front of us, and we don’t look at ourselves as the eighth seed. We just have to go out there and play our game. Our strength is defense. We should be able to limit their touches and give us a chance.” … Hibbing’s mood was relaxed this week after finally knocking off Grand Rapids behind 23 points from Abbey McDonald, 12 from Haley Hawkinson and 11 from Kourtney Manning. Grand Rapids had won three straight section crowns. “Grand Rapids was a lot of pressure for them,” said LaCoe, who coached the Thunderhawks for six seasons before taking a teaching job in Hibbing in 2013. “They had never beaten them in their high school careers, until finally, for me, and for them. They’re more excited for this than anything.” Hibbing has three 6-footers in Manning, a junior, and seniors McKenzie Maki and Elizabeth Tuomi. Those three were part of the Bluejackets’ state qualifying 1,600-meter relay last June. “We’re a tough team to match up with,” LaCoe said. “We’re tall, we’re lengthy, but we’re not slow, we’re fast. We can get up and down the floor.” … DeLaSalle, which won three state titles from 2011-13, is led by junior forward Nurjei Weems (19.3 ppg, 9.4 rpg). The Islanders captured the Section 4AAA title last week with a 65-49 victory over Totino-Grace. Interestingly, DeLaSalle was the No. 2 seed in its section but is now the No. 1 seed at state after Totino-Grace knocked off top-seeded Hill-Murray 54-52 in the section semifinals.
Radio: WMFG-FM 106.3
PROCTOR (24-6) VS. CALEDONIA (24-4)
What: Class AA state tournament quarterfinal
When: 8 p.m.
Where: Williams Arena, Minneapolis
Outlook: Fifth-seeded Proctor is making its third state tournament appearance and first since 2001. Fourth-seeded Caledonia is making its seventh appearance and first since 2011. The Rails have won nine straight while the Warriors have won 20 straight after starting the season 4-4. … Proctor advanced with a 62-46 victory over Duluth Marshall as Sam Pogatchnik (21 points), Payton Rodberg (14) and Katelyn Marunich (10) scored in double figures while the defense held Marshall standouts Grace Kirk and Gianna Kneepkens well below their averages. Pogatchnik leads the Rails with 15.6 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, while Sam Parendo, another junior, set the all-time assist record this season. Proctor is known for its balance, with six players averaging at least six points per game. “We’re all pretty competitive,” Parendo said. “In practice we always go hard and try to make each other better. We’ll do whatever we can do to come out on top. The only thing we really care about is the end score.” … Caledonia hasn’t lost since a 64-59 setback to Waukon on Dec. 18. The Warriors captured the Section 1AA title with a 49-39 victory last week over Winona Cotter, which beat Caledonia 49-36 in the Warriors’ season opener Nov. 27. Caledonia, which has a state title in 2009, is led by senior guard Katie Tornstrom (21.7 ppg, 9.2 rpg).
Radio: WKLK-FM 96.5