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Sports briefs: State boys basketball starting now

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Basketball stock art. (Unsplash image by Kylie O'Sullivan)

State boys basketball begins
The lower southwest Minnesota portion of the Section 3A, 3AA and 2AAA boys and girls basketball brackets were shut out this year in girls and boys state tournaments. The 2022 girls state tourney was completed over the weekend, and the boys tournament is just beginning.

Russell-Tyler-Ruthton, which knocked off Westbrook-Walnut Grove for the South Section 3A championship, went on to beat north winner Central Christian 62-59 in overtime to earn a state trip. The Knights will open state competition today (Wednesday) against top-seeded Hayfield at 11 a.m. at Williams Arena.

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Section 3AA champion Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta -- which outlasted Redwood Valley (the team that edged top-seeded Pipestone Area for the south title -- opened Tuesday night at 8 o’clock against Minnehaha Academy. Mankato East is the fourth seed in Class AAA and was to contend with fifth-seeded Mound Westonka at noon on Tuesday.

R-T-R is a very athletic squad with good outside and inside games, so it will be interesting to see how the Knights fare against Hayfield, which goes in with a 29-2 record. Russell-Tyler-Ruthton scored the first seven points of the game against Central Christian in the section finals (the Knights had a similar start against Westbrook-Walnut Grove).

Minneota girls settle for 2nd
The Minneota Vikings’ long run in the Minnesota state girls basketball tournament may or may not be over, but last weekend the Section 3A champions lost their Class A championship game to Hancock, 54-43.

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Minneota finished the 2021-22 season with a 28-5 record, and six seniors will graduate.

The Vikings played a good game against Hancock, which had averaged 72 points in its first two tournament contests. Minneota rushed out to a 13-2 lead and held the lead at halftime.

McKenna Yost led the Vikings with 17 points, but Hancock connected on 51.6 percent of its field goals for the game.

In other championship games, Providence beat Fergus Falls 55-53 in Class AA, Totino-Grace beat Becker 60-51 in Class AAA, and Hopkins topped St. Michael-Alberville 72-56 in Class AAAA.

Mankato East, which eliminated Worthington in the Section 2AAA tourney, lost to Becker 67-63 in the semifinals and lost the third-place game 91-69 to St. Paul Como Park. The Cougars ran up against a Como Park team that tied a state tournament record with 14 3-pointers.

What To Read Next
Luverne is seeded No. 1 in the upcoming Section 3A girls high school hockey tournament and Worthington is seeded sixth.
Participating teams are Becker, Benson, Big Lake, Byron, Detroit Lakes, Mankato West, Melrose, New London-Spicer, St. Peter, and Worthington.
The Worthington Trojans boys basketball team played exceptional defense against Canistota, surrendering a mere 11 points in the first half.
Outstanding outside shooting helped the Eagles beat Worthington in Worthington, 82-68