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Girls basketball playoffs start this week
As the march through the high school winter sports post-season continues, the next sport to kick off section playoffs is girls basketball. All three Bulletin-area high school teams are in action on Thursday.
For the second straight year, the Knights are the eighth seed in Section 5AAAA and face top-seeded Roseville in the first round. The Raiders were ranked eighth in the state last year and beat Irondale by 38. This year, Roseville is ranked No. 4.
When it came to avoiding the lowest seed, the Knights were doomed by a slow start to the season. Irondale lost its first six games, including a 26-point setback against Coon Rapids, the team that ended up as the seventh seed. A victory over the Cardinals might have given Irondale a better shot at No. 7.
Irondale put together a respectable showing following game six. The Knights went .500 after the 0-6 start and closed out the regular season with a victory over Henry Sibley last Thursday.
Irondale plays at Roseville on Thursday at 7 p.m. with the winner advancing to the semifinals on March 5 at 6 p.m. at Anoka High School against either fourth-seeded Maple Grove or fifth-seeded Champlin Park.
The Mustangs enter the post-season on a bit of a roll but also with a big task ahead of them. Mounds View closed out the regular season by winning three of its last four games but must find a way to stop one of the hotter teams in the state.
Awaiting the sixth-seeded Mustangs on Thursday at 7 p.m. in the first round of the Section 5AAAA playoffs is a visit to third-seeded Osseo, which has lost just twice since Jan. 8. Included in that stretch is a pair of victories over second-seeded and eighth-ranked Centennial.
The Mustangs started off the season fairly well and was sitting at four games above .500 at 6-2. Late December was unkind, however, as they dropped three in a row, including two in the Hill-Murray holiday tournament. Since the beginning of 2013, Mounds View has been up and down and a loss to White Bear Lake on Feb. 8 put the Mustangs at .500 (11-11).
That might have served as a bit of a wake-up call. Since then, Mounds View knocked off Cretin-Derham Hall, East Ridge and Stillwater and played 10th-ranked Park-Cottage Grove tough in a nine-point loss.
If Mounds View can pull off the first-round upset on Thursday, it will extend its season at least another five days. The semifinals are set for March 5 at Anoka High School and Mounds View would face either Centennial or seventh-seeded Coon Rapids.
The section final is scheduled for March 8 at 8 p.m. at Anoka.
St. Anthony Village
For the fourth consecutive season the St. Anthony Village High School girls basketball team finds itself playing in the dreaded 4/5 match-up in the quarterfinals of the Section 3AAA playoffs. The Huskies have been successful in the game the past three years but inevitably it leads to a semifinal contest against top-seeded DeLaSalle.
Those second-round games have been the ones that haven’t gone well for the Huskies. DeLaSalle has ended St. Anthony’s season the last three years.
St. Anthony hosts fifth-seeded Minneapolis Roosevelt on Thursday at 7 p.m. in a battle of 17-win teams. The Teddies enter the post-season having lost three of their last four games after reaching a high-water mark of 12 games above .500 on Feb. 8.
The Huskies are in a similar boat. Their high of 11 games above .500 (16-5) came on Jan. 29 but since then they’ve dropped four of five.
The winner faces DeLaSalle, unless something catastrophic happens and the Islanders lose to one-win Fridley in the first round, on March 5 at 6 p.m. at Maple Grove High School.
Brian Meyers can be reached at email@example.com.