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Qualifiers for girls basketball state tournament come with a tale or two

When the seeding for the girls basketball state tournaments is revealed Saturday, stories will be contained within.

Hopkins, which qualified with a 78-62 victory Thursday over Wayzata in Class 4A, Section 6, is back for the 12th time in 13 years. The Royals count on Liv McGill, who averages 22.9 points per game.

"I'm the only senior, you know? Everybody's looking up to me," she said after Thursday's section final. "And as a captain, as somebody who's been here for a while, they're all looking up to me. And I've been to the state tournament before. I've won sections before. I'm trying to lead my team to victory."

The top section seeds all made it through in Class 4A: Lakeville North in Section 1, Minnetonka in Section 2, Rosemount in Section 3, White Bear Lake in Section 4, Maple Grove in Section 5, Hopkins in Section 6, Andover in Section 7, St. Michael-Albertville in Section 8.

Class 3A

Alexandria coach Wendy Kohler arrives at state after becoming the third girls basketball coach in state history to reach 700 career victories. She did it in Alexandria's 73-29 victory over Fergus Falls on Thursday in Detroit Lakes in the Class 3A, Section 8 championship game. The Cardinals advanced to the state tournament for the 13th time under Kohler.

Kohler, in her 40th season, has a 700-310 career record. The Cardinals won the Class 3A state title in 1997. Kohler joins New London-Spicer coach Mike Dreier (1,066) and retired Rochester Lourdes coach Myron Glass (719) as the only girls coaches to reach the milestone.

Minneapolis Roosevelt qualified for state as the top seed in Section 3. So did DeLaSalle in Section 4, Benilde-St. Margaret's in Section 6 and Rock Ridge in Section 7. Totino-Grace, the fourth seed, made it from Section 5 after defeating top seed Becker in the semifinals.

Class 2A

In Class 2A, a coach was left to wait until next season to get that milestone. Winona Cotter coach Pat Bowlin ended the season two victories shy of 700 when Rochester Lourdes defeated Winona Cotter 50-33 on Thursday at the Rochester Mayo Civic Center for the Class 2A, Section 1 championship. Bowlin, who is in his 41st season, directed the Ramblers to a 24-6 record this season and has a career record of 698-375.

Bowlin is also the Rambers softball coach. He is tied with retired New Ulm Cathedral coach Pat Mertz for the most career victories by a softball coach with 802.

New London-Spicer defeated Windom 80-40 in the Class 2A, Section 3 championship game on Friday at Marshall to advance to state for the 21st time under coach Mike Dreier, the most in history by a coach. The Wildcats improved to 28-2 with the victory, which was the 1,067th for Dreier, who is in his 46th season as the Wildcats coach. The Wildcats have won two state titles and finished as runner-up six times under Dreier.

Class 1A

Walker-Hackensack-Akeley defeated Braham 67-63 in the Class 1A, Section 5 championship game to give coach Jim Lien his first state tournament berth in 45 seasons of coaching. Lien is in his 37th season as the Walker-Hackensack-Akeley coach. He has a 615-343 record as coach. His coaching career includes eight years as the Akeley boys coach that included three district championships and a record of 119-60. His combined coaching record is 734-403.

Mayer Lutheran won its spot at state handily, defeating Lester Prairie 77-36 Friday in Section 4.

Friday girls section finals

Class 4A, Section 8: Top-seeded St. Michael-Albertville outscored second-seeded Elk River 30-15 in the second half to win 61-47 at Monticello High School. Cail Jahnke and Ja'Kahla Craft led the Knights (22-7) with 18 points each. Britta Demar led the Elks (19-10) with 13 points.

Class 2A, Section 5: Maddyn Greenway scored 35 points to lead top-seeded Providence Academy past second-seeded Jordan 101-84 in the final at Augsburg University. Ari Peterson had 24 points for Providence Academy (25-4). Savannah Borowicz led the Jaguars (20-9) with 26 points, Morgan Staloch had 19, and Maddie Olinger had 17.