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Day 2 at state starts with Cherry atop a one-sided win

Ron Haggstrom, Jim Paulsen and Heather Rule will spend Thursday tracking down stories beyond the boys basketball state tournament. Come back often to see what they've found.

10:32 a.m.

Tip time, with Cherry on top

The Class 1A quarterfinals tipped at Target Center this morning. The opening game featured future Gophers guard Isaac Asuma and Cherry defeating Russell-Tyler-Ruthton to advance to the semifinals, giving basketball enthusiasts another opportunity to see one of the state's best players on the biggest stage.

The Tigers (28-2) are an overwhelming favorite in Class 1A with the field containing only three other schools ranked in the Top 10 of Minnesota Basketball News' final regular-season poll. The Tigers are ranked No. 1, followed by No. 3 West Central Area (27-3), No. 8 Mountain Lake Area-Comfrey (27-3) and No. 9 Fertile-Beltrami (25-6).

The two Class 3A semifinals look to be outstanding, with the first fitting the bill. In a matchup of private-school powers, No. 1-ranked Totino-Grace (25-5) and No. 5 DeLaSalle (21-9) are locked in a close game. Follow the action on the MN Basketball Hub. Totino-Grace is the reigning two-time state champion.

Second-ranked Mankato East (27-2) faces seventh-ranked Alexandria (25-5) in the second Class 3A semifinal scheduled for 2 p.m.

In Class 4A, No. 1-ranked Wayzata (28-1) and No. 3 Minnetonka (23-6) look to make the championship an all-Lake Conference affair, following the girls basketball state title game in which Minnetonka defeated Hopkins. Cretin-Derham Hall (25-4) and Eagan (18-12) will be hard pressed to upset either of the west-side powers. The Trojans take on the Raiders in the first semifinal at 6 p.m. The Skippers and Wildcats are scheduled to tip at 8 p.m.

Let's get the ball bouncing and fans cheering before the snow starts flying. It's the madness of march!

RON HAGGSTROM

. . .

Here are some of the preview stories that have appeared on startribune.com.

South High has a loyal guard named Poet — and Chip Scoggins wrote about him.

There's a team that hasn't been to state in 87 years. Ron Haggstrom tells its story.

Twenty players to follow and when they're playing in the opening rounds.

One team has scored more than 90 points per game this season and eight others have averaged more than 80. Here's that list.