After having last year's State Girls Basketball Tournament cancelled just before the semifinal game due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Minneota is excited to get a chance to play in this year's Class A semifinals.

Minneota faces Mt. Iron-Buhl in Class A state semifinals

After having last year's State Girls Basketball Tournament cancelled just before the semifinal game due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Minneota is excited to get a chance to play in this year's Class A semifinals.

The Vikings (23-0), the top-ranked team in Class A, will face Mt. Iron-Buhl (18-4) at noon on Tuesday, April 6 at Target Center. The championship will be played at 1 p.m. on Friday at Target Center.

"Mt. Iron-Buhl is a very well-coached team," said Minneota coach Chad Johnston. "They are pretty young, though. I expect them to throw few different defenses at us, so we will need to be able to recognize their switches and adjust accordingly.

"Offensively, they are a perimeter-based team. They don't really have a true post player. They all are a threat to shoot, so we need to be able to contest them around the perimeter."

Minneota is playing in its fourth straight state tournament, having won the state title in 2019 and were favored to repeat last year before the tournament was cancelled. Mt. Iron-Buhl, which beat Cass Lake-Bena 50-49 in the section championship, is playing in its 10th state tournament in the last 11 years.

Because of certain COVID-19 restrictions this year, the state tournament was not played in the tradition format of being held for three consecutive days at the same site. The Vikings played their state quarterfinal game last week in Mankato, with the semifinals and finals being three days apart.

"There are advantages and disadvantages to the way state is set up this year," said Johnston. "Obviously, with additional days between games you are allowed to prepare for teams, but they get to prepare for you also. I like the three days in a row, but I am just happy we are playing a state tournament this year, so i will take it regardless of the set up."

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