Class AAA State Tournament: First Look

Some believe that the absence of DeLaSalle and Benilde-St. Margaret's caused the class AAA tournament some star power but in their place is Columbia Heights with Zach Lofton and Waconia with Vandy singed Shelby Moats so the talent is still there. Add in St. Cloud Apollo, Orono, and defending champion St. Paul Johnson and you have a fun four days.
St. Paul Johnson (25-3) vs. New Prague (23-6)
When: Wednesday at 10:00 am
Where: Williams Arena
Who: The defending champion Governors are led by UMKC signed Estan Tyler (17.6 points per game), jack of all trades Roosevelt Scott (16.9), and junior scorer Marcus Marshall (16.0). Senior guard Jed Kreuser (13.7) is the top scorer for New Prague and right there with him is Northern State committed Cale Girten (13.3).
What: Both teams played Faribault: Johnson crushed the Falcons 101-58 while New Prague beat them handily too 77-53. New Prague was 1-1 in Missota play against Chanhassen losing by four and winning by seven. Johnson smashed Chanhassen 82-55.
Marshall (21-8) vs. Columbia Heights (23-6)
When: Wednesday at 12:00 pm
Where: Williams Arena
Who: Marshall has three do it all competitors in Caleb Johnson, Ben Sanders, and Lee Christianson. Johnson is the type of kid who can honestly be asked to play all five positions for his high school team. Columbia Heights includes one of the state's elite scorers in Zach Lofton (30.4) who is also a first team Minnesota Preps all-metro performer, junior Ben Glover (12.1), and senior Keanu Glover (10.6).
What: Columbia Heights defeated Minneapolis Washburn 92-78 while the Millers defeated Marshall 80-61. Washburn was the only common opponent.
Grand Rapids (19-9) vs. Waconia (21-7)
When: Wednesday at 2:00 pm
Where: Williams Arena
Who: Grand Rapids has hit the next era of their program with juniors Austin Pohlen and Mike Spoden leading the team as well Alex Illikainen (who is widely considered the best prospect and player in Minnesota's 2015 class). Yes he's a 6-foot-8 8th grader. Illikainen and Spoden will be in charge of slowing down Vanderbilt signed Shelby Moats (22.4). Waconia is also getting great guard play from Ben Korteum (11.8), Bronson Scheff (9.9), and Alex Schmitt (9.9).
What: Grand Rapids and Waconia don't have any common opponents. Waconia beat Holy Angels, Washburn, and Benilde-St. Margaret's to get to state, The GR defeated North Branch and Hibbing.
St. Cloud Apollo (25-4) vs. Orono (25-4)
When: Wednesday at 4:00 pm
Where: Williams Arena
Who: All Metro performer Jordan Smith (21.0) leads Orono along with junior Brady Wohler (13.5) and senior big Jeremy Borg (10.3). University of Mary signed bigs Simon Krych (15.2 points and 8.8 rebounds) and Blake Maslonkowski (14.0 and 7.5) lead the Eagles along with shooter Derek Steve (12.0 points and 4.8 assists). It's unlikely that third leading scorer and starting senior point guard Ibrahim Abukar (12.5 points and 4.9 assists) will play because Tuesday morning he goes into surgery to give bone marrow to his sister who needs it to live.
What: Orono defeated St. Cloud Apollo 62-55 back in December during the semi-finals of the Granite City Classic. Smith led Orono with 24 points while Wohler scored a dozen. In defeat Maslonkowski had 21 points and 12 rebounds and Krych also had a double-double with 12 points and 12 boards. Orono had eight guys score while Apollo only had five players produce at least one field goal.