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Girls basketball: Section girls basketball tournaments start soon

The strength of the Section 3A and the Section 3AA girls basketball field may be evidenced in the fact that the No. 2 seeds in the south might easily be No. 1 seeds anywhere else.

The strength of the Section 3A and the Section 3AA girls basketball field may be evidenced in the fact that the No. 2 seeds in the south might easily be No. 1 seeds anywhere else.

Pipestone Area, the second seed in 3AA, owns a 23-1 record. Southwest Christian, the second seed in 3A, qualified for the Minnesota state tournament last year and takes a 21-3 record with a No. 10 state ranking into the 2017 postseason.

This year’s Section 3A tournament begins Thursday with three play-in games. In the north, Hendricks (8) hosts Renville County West (9). In the south, Murray County Central (8) hosts Ellsworth (9) and Heron Lake-Okabena (7) hosts Westbrook-Walnut Grove (10). Section 3AA first-round games begin Saturday at various locations.

The southern half of Section 3A exclusively features Red Rock Conference teams, led by top-seeded Red Rock Central (16-0 in the conference, 23-3 overall), Southwest Christian (15-1, 21-3) and third-seeded Hills-Beaver Creek (13-3, 19-5).

Tracy-Milroy-Balaton is the top seed in Section 3AA South.

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Red Rock Central has won 17 consecutive games. The Falcons have played Southwest Christian only once this season, winning 75-58. Southwest Christian is working on a 10-game winning streak.

The Eagles didn’t shoot very well against RRC in that one meeting. On Tuesday, head coach Denise Nerem was careful not to reveal too much of her plans should the two teams meet again in the tournament.

“I would do a few things differently, but I don’t want to tell people what I’d do differently,” she said.

She agreed on one thing, however: the loss provides good motivation for her proud team members.

“They don’t relinquish their losses very easily. They take that very seriously whenever they do lose,” Nerem said. She concluded that the RRC loss was “better than any speech I could give ‘em.”

In Section 3AA, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton earned its No. 1 South seed with a 54-42 victory over then-undefeated Pipestone Area on Feb. 11. The Panthers, 23-2 heading into Tuesday night’s game against Springfield, have lost only to Canby -- the No. 1 Section 3A North seed -- and Lac qui Parle Valley. The LQPV loss occurred Feb. 20 and went overtime.

Besides T-M-B, other teams to watch out for in 3AA are third-seeded Minneota and fourth-seeded Martin County West.

Minneota owned a 19-6 record going into Tuesday’s game against Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg. The Vikings were beaten twice this season by T-M-B, but the second time was a 71-69 overtime game on Feb. 16.

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Martin County West, 14-8 prior to Tuesday’s game in Worthington, recently awarded head coach Rodger Taylor his 400th career win.

Eight Section 3AA openers are scheduled on Saturday at 7 p.m., including south section matchups Redwood Valley (8) at T-M-B, Jackson County Central (5) at Martin County West, Windom Area (7) at Pipestone Area and Luverne (6) at Minneota. A section champion will be decided March 10 at 5 p.m. at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall.

Worthington High School will be the site of a “Super Saturday” Section 3A South quarterfinal round, with RRC hosting the winner of MCC and Ellsworth at 11 a.m., Adrian (5) playing Edgerton (4) at 12:30 p.m., Southwest Christian playing the winner of HL-O and W-WG at 2:30 p.m., and Fulda (6) squaring off against H-BC at 4 p.m. The section champ will be decided March 10 at 8 p.m. at SMSU.

Related Topics: GIRLS BASKETBALL
Doug Wolter joined the Worthington Globe in December of 1983 as a sports reporter. He later became sports editor, and then news editor and managing editor. In 2006 he moved to Mankato with his wife, Sandy, and served as an editor at the Mankato Free Press. In 2013 he and Sandy returned to Worthington to take up the job of sports editor at The Globe, and they have been in Worthington since.

Doug can be reached at dwolter@dglobe.com.
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