Section 1 is loaded in boys basketball for the Class 2A and 1A tournaments

Feb. 26—ROCHESTER — Section 1, Class 2A is loaded with strong teams in boys basketball and the upcoming section tournament figures to be a gauntlet to navigate through this postseason.

The section features three teams with 20 or more wins in Lake City (20-5), Caledonia (21-4) and Cannon Falls (21-5) while La Crescent-Hokah is 19-7. Of the 16 teams in the section, eight have winning records and all of those teams have at least 15 wins.

"I think we would put up our section against most sections in the state as far as being competitive," Cannon Falls coach Josh Davisson said.

The first round of the tournament will be Thursday at the site of the high seed.

"It's going to be an interesting one," Caledonia coach Brad King said. "The first key for everybody is to be healthy."

Late in the season, Cannon Falls defeated Lake City and then Caledonia defeated Cannon Falls. Lake City had beaten Caledonia earlier in the season.

"Our section is very good and there are multiple teams that could come out of it," King said. "It's probably the team that shoots it best that is going to come out of the section."

"It's going to be another fun tournament to watch for everyone and it's pretty open," Lake City coach Greg Berge said.

Lake City, Caledonia, Cannon Falls and La Crescent-Hokah are the top four seeds. The next four are Zumbrota-Mazeppa (16-10), Lewiston-Altura (17-9), Winona Cotter (16-10) and Pine Island (9-16). No. 9 St. Charles is 15-11.

"You get into the tournament and you've got to bring your best game," Berge said. "I'm really of the belief that most high school teams can beat most teams in the section on any given night. Sure there's favorites, but that's what makes the tournament fun."

Lake City is led by seniors Hunter Lorenson (17.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists per game), Keegan Ryan (15.4 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 3.5 apg) and Jaden Shones (10.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.5 apg).

Seniors Aiden Johnson and Dylan Banks are both three-year starters for Cannon Falls. Johnson, a 6-5 senior guard, averages 20.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Banks, a 6-1 senior guard, averages 11.5 points and a team-best 7.4 assists per game. Junior guard Gavin Johnson, Aiden's brother, has been able to score in bunches and averages 12.5 points per game.

"We've been coming along pretty well," Davisson said. "We may not be as deep as some teams, but we certainly have some very good players. And our young guys are really starting to have some impact with us."

Caledonia has had great balance this season with all five starters averaging in double figures for scoring: Mason King (16.3 ppg), Reid Klug (15.8), Lewis Doyle (14.3), Ethan Stendel (11.8) and Garrett Konz (10.6).

King believes the top 11 teams are all very capable of making a strong tournament run.

"In that second-round game, you better be ready to play," he said.

After the first round, the rest of the tournament will be played at Mayo Civic Center in Rochester.

Berge said playing with the shot clock this season, especially on the bigger courts at Mayo Civic Center, could be a factor. He believes that could potentially cut down on upsets because teams won't be able to hold the ball for an extended period of time.

The Section 1-1A field is also loaded as five teams have 20 or more wins.

The big section includes 20 teams and 10 have winning records. The top five seeds are Blooming Prairie (25-2), Spring Grove (24-3), Rushford-Peterson (20-7), Southland (20-5) and Kingsland (21-5).

"It's going to be tough," Schaeffer Academy coach Tom Bance said of the section tournament.

Blooming Prairie is led by Gabe Hein (24.6 ppg, 10.0 rrp), Brady Kittelson (16.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg) and Zack Hein (16.5 ppg, 7.6 rrp).

Spring Grove is led by a pair of 6-5 players in Jaxon Strinmoen (16,9 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and Ben Udstuen (13.6). Senior guard Elijah Solum returned from an ACL injury eight games in the season. He has had some soreness in his knee and has been held out of some games late in the season.

Spring Grove coach Wade Grinde said Solum might be dealing with some scar tissue on his knee and hopes he is available for the entire section tournament.

"We'll see, we'll have to just play it by ear," Grinde said.

Southland has been led by Nick Edlund. The 6-6 senior center averages 16.0 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. The Rebels were hurt when junior guard Noah Goergen suffered a season-ending injury late in the season. He had been averaging 12.3 points per game.

"That's a tough loss," Southland coach Scott Koenigs said. "But I think we'll be fine, we play about 12 or 13 guys every night."

Dawson Bunke, a 6-4 senior guard, leads Rushford-Peterson He is averaging 21.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.

Senior Jayden Brink averages more than 20 points per game for Kingsland.

Karch Hegge hadn't scored a point all season long for Lake City before coming off the bench late and having a memorable game on Feb. 12 against La Crescent-Hokah.

The senior guard went 4-for-4 from 3-point range in the final four minutes to score 12 points in Lake City's 92-52 victory.

"He's one of our defensive guys," Lake City coach Greg Berge said. "He hadn't scored all year and he decided to wake up and hit four in one game. That was kind of fun for the guys."

Hegge had been a basketball player before going out for wrestling as a junior. This year he decided to play basketball again as a senior. The points against the Lancers were the first of his varsity career.