Roseville girls basketball makes run at state tournament


submitted photo • The Roseville Area High School girls basketball team after its March 8 Section 5AAAA championship win. The Raiders went on to win a first round matchup against Cretin-Durham Hall in the state tournament before falling to the Hopkins Royals on March 15.

The Roseville Area High School girls basketball team made it to the AAAA state tournament for the first time in more than a decade.

Though the Raiders were beaten in the semifinals by hardwood powerhouse Hopkins in a March 15 game at Target Center, the unseeded Roseville team notched a tidy win over third-seeded Cretin-Derham Hall the day before.

Just getting there was an accomplishment. Head coach Jeff Crosby said it was the first time the Raiders had made it out of sections since 2007, and this was his first time making it to state with the Roseville girls team.

Going into state, the Raiders had tallied a record of 22-7. Crosby credited the squad’s success to consistent team effort and didn’t single out just one player, saying, “[They’re] a team of hard working, tough-nosed kids.”

If there was a moment when Crosby realized this Raiders team might have legs, he said it was the 3-0 performance at the seventh annual Roseville Holiday Tournament Dec. 28-30, when the girls topped Woodbury, Lakeville South and Centennial, defeating the latter with a nail-biting score of 68-67.

Kathy Johnston, a 40-year Roseville resident who found herself caught up in Raiders excitement because her granddaughter, a RAHS sophomore, plays on the team, said she can’t remember the last time the Roseville girls made it so far.

Johnston said the section tournament game she attended was “awesome,” adding, “there was so much electricity and excitement at the game.”

Roseville’s toughest matchup in the section tournament was in the second round against Champlin Park High School March 3 — the Raiders won 62-58. The March 8 final against Park Center was a bit more one-sided — Roseville won 65-45.

Crosby said the section tournament was “a fun and exciting time. The kids played great and executed our game plans well.”

It was Raiders vs. Raiders when Roseville met Cretin March 14 at Target Center. Roseville came in looking to make up for two losses against the other Raiders earlier in the season, and did so, 56-48.

Roseville had three scorers in double figures and finished the first half of the game against Cretin with a score of 29-23.

It was the first half against Hopkins that spelled the end for the Raiders’ state run. The Royals blitzed the Raiders 39-18 through the first 18 minutes of play. The final score was 61-34.

As of press time, the Raiders had one game left to play on the season, a March 17 third-place tilt against Lakeville North. The game, played after the deadline for this edition of the paper, was the Raiders’ first time playing the Panthers all season.


 

– Mike Munzenrider can be reached at mmunzenrider@lillienews.com or 651-748-7813

 

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