The Class A State Boys Basketball Tournament begins Thursday at Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota campus and the Goodhue Wildcats are ready to go.

Their fans were treated to a double overtime section final victory last Thursday, and many people are just getting their fingernails back. The Wildcats open the tournament at 3PM Thursday on KDHL against Lake Park-Audubon.

Goodhue is the No. 2 seed and was ranked No. 4 in the Minnesota Basketball News top 20 in Class A. No. 2 rated Nevis, with just one loss, is the No. 4 seed and No. 3 ranked Central Minnesota Christian is seeded No. 3.

The Lake Park-Audubon Raiders were rated No. 20 in the final regular season MBBN top 20 in Class A. They feature two players with more than 1,000 points in their career and are a very athletic team.

Goodhue is masterful at controlling tempo and will need to be in this game also because Lake Park-Audubon loves to use their athleticism to attack the basket and are a plus-8 on the glass.

The Raiders average 16 assists and 12 turnovers a game while shooting 52 percent from the field and 33 percent from three-point range. They average 67 points and allow 53 points per contest

Six-foot-10 senior Jesse Bergh averages 23 points and 13 rebounds a game and 6-foot-2 senior Mitch Hall averages 15 points and seven boards.

Hall is very good at setting up teammates, averaging about 6.5 assists per game. He also was the leading wide receiver in their conference in football.

The Raiders are 22-6 and my guess is Goodhue (28-3) got the No. 2 seed because of their wins over bigger schools. They defeated Class 3A Byron, Kasson-Mantorville and Stewartville along with several Class 2A teams.

They have not lost to a Class A school this season, with their losses to Rochester Lourdes (Class AA), Lake City (Class AA and in the state tournament) and Pine Island (Class 2A). The also defeated Lake City once this year.

Goodhue is tops in the state in Class A in defensive scoring, allowing just 39.6 points per game while averaging 53.5. The Wildcats shoot 49 percent from the field and just a shade under 40 percent from three-point range, with 178 three-pointers made.

An interesting statistic for Goodhue is the fact they average more turnovers than their opponents.

Six-foot-4 senior Jacob McNamara is an excellent passer in the post, averaging about 4.5 assists per game, and leads the team with a 12.6 point average. He is also their leading rebounder at 6.4.

Senior Ben Opsahl was ill and still played in Goodhue's win over Rushford-Peterson in the section final. Head coach Matt Halverson said after the game that Ben was running a fever all day and it was huge for his team to have him on the floor. He has such basketball smarts and does things you won't see in a box score after the game. He averages 12.3 points per game and about 5.7 rebounds. He is a 6-foot-2 senior and plays like he's about 6-foot-5.

Point guard Taylor Buck averages 10.8 points per game and leads the team with 53 three-point baskets.

McNamara scored his 1,000th point earlier this season and told KDHL after their section final win he has no expectations at state this year. He just wants the team to play well and see what happens.

Top seed, defending state champion Minneapolis North, was ranked tops all year in Class A and opens with a Red Lake team that likes to go up and down the floor just like the Polars do. Red Lake was ranked sixth in the final Minnesota Basketball News Class A top 20. That game is at 11AM Thursday in Williams Arena.

KDHL will have the 1PM game with No. 4 seed Nevis (28-1) and No. 5 seed Springfield (28-2) at Williams Arena. Both teams are called the Tigers, so Roy will have fun with that.

Nevis is not named after the tiger cat but the tiger muskie. Their only loss was to Cass Lake-Bena and it took four overtimes for them to defeat Browerville-Eagle Valley in the section final.

They average 68 and give up 44 points per game while shooting 51 percent from the field and 37 percent from three-point land. The Tigers average 15 assists and 10 turnovers and have three 1,000 point scorers on their team.

Six-foot-3 senior Griffin Chase leads the team with 21.5 points and 5.9 rebounds a game. He is also averaging just under three assists per game and has 62 three-point baskets and 117 points from the free throw line.

Springfield averages 83 points per game and allows 58. These Tigers shoot 50 percent from the field and 34 percent from three-point range, and have 21 assists and 11 turnovers per game.

Six-foot-3 sophomore Isaac Fink leads the team in scoring at 23.2 points per game while averaging nine rebounds and just under six assists a game.

Three other Springfield players average in double, figures so this could be a wild one at The Barn on Thursday.

I will have the Class 4A semifinal games from Target Center on Thursday night on KDHL.

The other Class A quarterfinal game at Williams is at 5PM and features No. 3 seed Central Minnesota Christian and North Woods. The Bluejays of Central Minnesota Christian (26-3) tangle with an unseeded North Woods team (29-1), despite only one loss.

The Grizzlies might play like angry bears, and boy can they score the ball. North Woods averages 82 points a game while allowing 49. They shoot 48 percent from the field and 33 percent from long range. The Grizzlies average 15 assists and 11 turnovers and are led by 6-foot sophomore Cade Goggleye, who averages 18.9 points per game and about six assists per contest.

Central Minnesota Christian hangs their hat on defense, allowing 43 points per game while scoring an average of 66.2. The Bluejays shoot 50 percent from the field and 38 percent from three-point range with 181 three-point baskets coming into Thursday's state opener. Central Minnesota Christian averages 15 assists and nine turnovers a game.

Six-foot-3 senior Ethan Brouwer leads the team in scoring with 14.8 per game and 7.2 rebounds.

Goodhue Holds up second place trophy in 2016- picture by Roy Koenig, Townsquare Media


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