Kyle Stevens is a sports reporter for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, Kyle worked at the Owatonna People’s Press, as well as KWLM and KLFN in Willmar. You can contact Kyle by phone at (651) 301-7879, via e-mail at email@example.com, and follow him on Twitter @RE_KStevens.
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ROCHESTER – Owen King, Noah King, Colton Lampert and the rest of the Caledonia Warriors don't need much help in winning basketball games. The No. 2-ranked team in Class 2A has lost just twice this season, and only once, to mighty Hopkins, to a Minnesota team. So the Warriors, the top seed in Section 1AA, are all but expected to compete for a state title. First, Caledonia would have to get through Cannon Falls in the section semifinals.
KENYON – Callie Loeschke was laughing through her interview. Hailey Huseth was crying, hugging her mother in the stands. Mike Gunderson was engaged in a lively conversation, a smile on his face that may last through the weekend. Cannon Falls entered the Section 1AA playoffs as a No. 13 seed, winner of seven games, and holders of postseason victory drought that dates to 2007. On Thursday, against fourth-seeded Kenyon-Wanamingo, the Bombers pulled the upset, doubled their section win total, and erased that dismal history with a 55-49 win over the Knights.
ROCHESTER – Tuesday's rematch between Lake City and Pine Island was between the No. 2 seed in the Section 1AA, and the No. 7 seed. In most circumstances, that disparity in seeding would mean a fairly easy win for the higher seed. But the Tigers beat the Panthers by just seven points in the regular season, and Pine Island was within one possession for much of that early December contest. So Tuesday's game was a chance for the Panthers to get some measure of revenge, and to send favored Lake City home two games before the seedings would agree.
Team state wrestling Class 1A team breakdown Teams (seed): Kenyon-Wanamingo (1), Minneota (2), Frazee (3), Pierz (4), Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg (5), Caledonia, Sibley East, West Central Area Highest returning place-winner: Minneota, 2015 state champion State appearances (championships): Frazee 23 (1992, 1999, 2002, 2011); Pierz 13 (2004, 2005); Minneota 7 (2015); KMS 3 (2009); Sibley East 6; Caledonia 5 (1970); Kenyon-Wanamingo 3; West Central Area 2
ROCHESTER – Fouls and free throws, that would be what Goodhue would have looked back on in its demise Monday in the Sub-section 1A West semifinals against Lyle-Pacelli at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester. Of the Athletics 22 first-half points, nine were from the free-throw line. The Wildcats visited the charity stripe just three times total in the first 18 minutes. But Goodhue still held the lead at the break. And the Wildcats would get even, and more so, at the end of the game for a 50-37 victory.
ROCHESTER – At the beginning of the season, Red Wing was an afterthought in the Big Nine Conference title race. The Wingers returned several key players, but Rochester John Marshall had the Hurt brothers, Michael, a future Golden Gopher, and Matthew, one of the top freshmen in the nation. Add in transfer Dedoch Chan, who was dominant last year at Albert Lea, and the Rockets were the heavy favorite to win the league.
PINE ISLAND – Broc Finstuen had no trouble recalling the game. Finstuen immediately informed his coach, two teammates and a reporter that Pine Island lost to Lake City by seven points, way back on Dec. 1. It was the third of four-straight losses to begin the season for the Panthers, who, on Thursday, beat Plainview-Elgin-Millville, 91-75, to advance to the Section 1AA quarterfinals where the Tigers will be waiting.
Losers of four-straight games, including a controversial loss to Rochester Lourdes and a blowout to Rochester John Marshall, Red Wing did not enter the Section 1A playoffs on a high note. The Wingers did receive the No. 5 seed in the tournament, but even that came with some sour taste. A win over the Eagles could have had Red Wing sitting at No. 4, a spot that would mean a bye into the quarterfinals.
ROCHESTER – Last year, everything had to go right for Zumbrota-Mazeppa to win the Section 1A championship. The Cougars needed to avoid bonus points in losses, including the final one of the dual against Kenyon-Wanamingo. Z-M did just that, upsetting the Knights and punching its ticket to the state tournament where the Cougars would finish as runners-up.
Thursday’s game at Prairie Island Arena ended in controversy as Red Wing saw a comeback fall short in a 5-4 loss to Rochester Lourdes in a key Section 1A matchup. The Eagles took a five-goal lead with a second-period tally followed a four-goal first period. But the Wingers fought all the way back. Or, at least, they thought they had after Joe Renshaw celebrated a goal at 16:15 of the third period. Red Wing’s skaters gathered in front of a raucous student section, thinking it had made it a 5-5 game. But after a conference, the officials waved off the goal.