For the third straight year, the Monticello girls basketball team will head to the state tournament.
For the third straight year, they have new expectations.
“We have bigger plans,” said Alyssa Lentner.
After being happy to be there the first year, and happy to win a game last year, the Magic are aiming to be a legitimate contender this year.
“This year, for Class AAA, it’s wide open,” said Grace Sawatzke. “So, our goal is what every other team’s goal is, to win state.”
For Monticello, who was voted as the fifth seed in Class AAA, the work starts Tuesday night when they take on fourth seed Minneapolis Washburn.
The Millers earned their berth with a seven-point victory over Holy Family in their Thursday night section final game.
The Magic are familiar with Washburn, as they matched up just after Christmas this year, with the Millers pulling out a 66-63 win on Monticello’s home court.
For Washburn, who enters the tournament with a 22-6 record, everything starts and finishes with senior post Chase Coley.
Coley was recently named the MN Gatorade Player of the Year after averaging over 24 points, 18 rebounds and 9 blocks per game this season.
“She’s unbelievable,” said Magic Coach Craig Geyen. “She’s a great player.”
Coley, who is headed to the University of Iowa next season, was a huge factor when the teams matched up earlier this year. She scored 34 points while grabbing 19 rebounds in that contest.
Lucia Renikoff was the Millers second leading scorer, putting up 13 points, including three three-pointers.
“She’s a very nice player,” added Geyen.
Monticello trailed Washburn by 17 early in the second half of that game, before rallying back to take a one point lead in the final minutes.
“We started taking care of the ball and we pressured them into some mistakes,” said Geyen.
But Washburn took advantage of a couple missed shots for Monticello down the stretch, pulling back in front and hanging on for the narrow win.
Geyen said the team is excited to get another shot at Washburn.
“They want to avenge their losses,” said Geyen. “That’s something they’ve done a pretty good job of throughout their career.”
Monticello takes on Minneapolis Washburn Tuesday night at the Target Center in Minneapolis. The game is scheduled to start at 8 p.m., or approximately 25 minutes after the first Class AAA quarterfinal (Park Center vs. Simley), which begins at 6 p.m.
The winner of Monticello’s game will advance to play the winner of the first quarterfinal at noon Thursday at Williams Arena.
If you can’t make it to the game, you can tune in on the radio. The game is scheduled to be broadcast on both KRWC 1360 AM and BOB 106.1 FM.
For a brief recap, visit the Monticello Times website Wednesday morning. For a full story, please pick up the March 20th edition of the Monticello Times.