Southern Minnesota Basketball Shines in State Spotlight
Southern Minnesota basketball is alive and well. This week, Rochester John Marshall's Matthew Hurt was named Mr. Basketball. Over two weekends in March teams from Section 1 and southern Minnesota fared very well at the state tournaments.
In the recent girls tournament Goodhue and Caledonia played in title games. The Wildcats lost in a defensive struggle to Minneota in the Class A championship tilt. Goodhue will return All-Tournament selection Joslyn Carlson to their lineup next winter. She is currently a freshman.
There was some talk at the state tournament that Goodhue will move up to Class AA next season. The Minnesota State High School League will announce section assignments soon for the 2019-20 and 2020-2021 school years.
Caledonia made it to the state AA title game after an upset victory over top-seed Roseau. The Warriors even led Minnehaha Academy in the championship game. The Redhawks rallied to win the title.
Goodhue beat Caledonia during a game early in the regular season.
In the boys tournament, Waseca reached the title game before falling the DeLaSalle. The Bluejays beat Austin from Section 1 in the state semifinals. Waseca beat Mankato East in the Section 2AAA title game. Austin and Mankato East shared the Big Nine title. The Big Nine also had Northfield and John Marshall as section runners up.
Lakeville North, granted not a southern Minnesota team but the Section 1 representative again this season, lost to Hopkins in the AAAA championship game. Spring Grove, in their first ever state boys basketball appearance, knocked off the top-seed Springfield in the quarterfinals and ended up in third place of Class A. Lake City took third place in AA, beating a pair of higher seeded teams along the way.
Hurt's Mr. Basketball honor is the third for a Big Nine player. Owatonna's Chad Kolander won the award in 1990 and Mitch Ohnstad of Faribault captured the honor in 1996. Hurt's honor comes a few months after Owatonna's Jason Williamson won the Mr. Football award, giving the conference some nice bragging rights.
It's reported the Hurt will announce his college decision in April. Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina are said to be his final four choices.