Big Nine Team Advances to State Finals for Third Straight Year
For the third straight year a Big Nine Conference team has reached the state Class 3A finals in the girls' basketball tournament. Northfield beat Grand Rapids Thursday 64-54 to reach the championship game against top-seed Robbinsdale Cooper Saturday, March 17 at 6PM on Target Center on KDHL AM 920. Winona played for the AAA title in each of the last two seasons, losing to Holy Angels in 2016 and Orono in 2017. The last Big Nine team to win a girls' championship was Rochester Mayo in 1997. Northfield was a state runner-up in 1979.
The second-seeded Raiders used a 24-7 run in the second half to overcome a 47-40 deficit. Grace Touchette led Northfield with 21 points and six assists according to the Minnesota State High School League game recap. The Raiders shot 56-percent for the game. Grand Rapids went 9-for-30 on three-point attempts. Cooper beat Willmar 65-54 in the other semifinal. The Hawks are in their first-ever state tournament. They recently moved from 4A to 3A.
In Class 4A, unbeaten Eastview beat South Suburban Conference opponent Lakeville North 57-47 in one semifinal and will face Hopkins for the title after the Royals beat Roseville Area 61-34 Saturday night at 8PM at Target Center. North battle Roseville Area in the third place at Concordia of St. Paul at 5PM on Power 96 radio.
The Class 1A semifinals are Friday. Top-seed and top-ranked Lyle/Pacelli plays Minneota and Mountain Iron-Buhl plays Sleepy Eye. The 2A semifinals feature Sauk Centre against Norwood Young America and Maranatha Christian Academy against defending state champ Roseau.