Basketball Playoffs This Week for Owatonna, Blooming Prairie, NRHEG
It's a big week for section basketball playoffs. Boys teams are closing in on the section finals. Girls teams are in the early stages of the postseason. (Updated with NRHEG postponement.)
MONDAY, MARCH 2
The two-time defending state AA girls champs from New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva opened their title defense with a 60-48 victory over Maple River. Sophomore Maddie Wagner reached the 1,000-career-point mark in the game. The Panthers play Waterville-Elysian-Morristown on Thursday at 7:45 p.m. at Mankato East High School in the south subsection semifinals. The teams split their regular season series.
TUESDAY, MARCH 3
The NRHEG boys game vs Maple River is postponed to Wednesday. Details are below.
The Blooming Prairie girls have a rematch with Goodhue in the ultra-competitive section 1A west subsection semifinals. The Wildcats topped the Awesome Blossoms 40-38 on Jan. 20. No. 5 Goodhue (22-5) and No. 10 Blooming Prairie (22-3) meet at 6 p.m. live on KRFO AM 1390 and on the RadioPup app. The other semifinal features Lyle and Southland. Three of the four remaining teams are ranked in the top 10.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4
The Owatonna girls go to Rochester Mayo for the 1AAAA quarterfinals. The teams split their games this season. OHS won the first game 60-44. Mayo topped the Huskies 56-50 in the rematch. The Spartans have won 16 of their past 17 games. The only loss during that time was a four-point setback to Big Nine Conference champ Rochester JM.
The Huskies and Spartans have a long history of epic playoff encounters. In 2011, the Spartans rallied from a big deficit to edge Owatonna 32-31. The teams went into overtime in 2005 and 2006, with each school winning one of those. Mayo last won the section title in 2013. Owatonna's last state tournament appearance was 2008.
The other quarterfinal pairings for Wednesday are Farmington at John Marshall, Hastings at Century, and Northfield at Lakeville North.
The NRHEG boys get their third opportunity to knock off Maple River. The Eagles beat the Panthers 70-66 and 85-74 on their way to the Gopher Conference title. No. 7 NRHEG (23-4) and No. 6 Maple River (25-3) square off at Minnesota State University-Mankato at 6 p.m. Wednesday March 4 live on Kat Kountry 105 FM and on the RadioPup app.