State Tournament Bests - Top 5 Girls' Teams
The celebration of 100 years of state basketball tournaments continues with the announcement of the top teams in the history of the girls' state tourney. As with past and upcoming announcements of the best of 100 years of state basketball tournaments, these lists have been compiled with the assistance of a committee of basketball historians and experts from around Minnesota.
In the coming weeks, similar listings of the top boys' teams, best shots, best games and best finishes in state tournament history will be announced. These announcements and other activities related to 100 years of state tourneys will lead into this year's tournaments; the girls will play at Williams Arena and Target Center March 14-17 and the boys will do the same March 21-24.
TOP FIVE GIRLS' BASKETBALL TEAMS
St. Paul Central (32-0), 2007
The Central girls waltzed to the 2007 Class AAAA title with an undefeated 32-0 record. The Minutemen scored 90 points or more 14 times, but Coach Willie Taylor never allowed them to score 100 points. Still, Central closed out the season rated among the top five girls' teams in the nation, and many observers opined it was the greatest girls' basketball team in Minnesota history.
|State tournament opponents were Roseville 76-58, Edina 79-41, and Minneapolis South 81-63. The Central-South championship match-up was the first in state tournament play (boys or girls) between Minnesota's largest cities. Central point guard Angel Robinson led all Class AAAA scorers with 60 points, including 28 in the semifinal win over Edina. Later, she was selected as Minnesota's Ms. Basketball. Central and South also met in 2008 and Central repeated with a 49-44 win.|
Rochester Mayo (27-0), 1997
By 1997, Coco and Kelly Miller had already played in three state tournaments, taking fourth place as eighth-graders in 1993, winning a Class AA title in 1995, and finishing third in 1996. Their 73-67 loss to Bloomington Jefferson in the 1993 semifinals, and their 66-58 loss to Osseo in the 1996 semifinals have been heralded as two of the greatest games in girls' tournament history. The twins were already among the most famous and most heavily recruited Minnesota girls ever.
There would be no more losses in 1997, but there was another classic game — a 78-70 semifinal win over Jefferson in the highest scoring game in tournament history at that time. Robbinsdale Armstrong and Woodbury were defeated by an average of 23 points. Coco and Kelly led all tournament scorers with 72 and 71 points, respectively. They shared the Ms. Basketball award that year.
Minneapolis North (29-0), 1998
The Lady Polars won the first of five Class AAA titles in eight years in 1998 and, at 29-0, had the best record of any of those championship teams. Even more remarkably, this was the second of seven championship game appearances in nine years for the North girls under coach Faith Johnson Patterson. North defeated St. Francis 69-23, Mankato East 69-54, and then doubled up on Chaska in the final, 66-33. Tamara Moore scored 26 points in the final and her 67 points led all scorers from all classes for the tournament. Mauri Horton and Felicia Bell also starred. Moore was named Ms. Basketball 1998 and Horton was named Ms. Basketball 1999.
Lakeville North (32-0), 2010
The Panthers featured a classic inside-outside, one-two punch in 5-9 junior guard Rachel Banham and 6-4 senior center Cassie Rochel. Rochel led the way with 17 points and 9 rebounds in a 52-33 Class AAAA quarterfinal win over Northfield. Banham scored 17 in the semifinal, a 76-46 rout of Chaska, and 25 in a 57-47 title game victory over White Bear Lake. Banham and Rochel shared the Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year award, while Rochel was named Ms. Basketball 2010 and Banham was named Ms. Basketball 2011. Like St. Paul Central in 2007, this Lakeville team was widely acclaimed at the time as the best ever.
Rochester Lourdes (30-0), 1991
The Lourdes Eagles won their second straight state title, and third of (now) eight Class AA championships under coach Myron Glass in 1991. This is the only one of Lourdes' eight championship teams to finish undefeated, and on that basis rates as the Eagles' best team.
It didn't hurt that this Lourdes team had two stars in Lori Lawler and Stacy Sievers. Sievers scored 24 points in a 52-31 quarterfinal win over MACCRAY. Lawler scored 22 in a 58-44 semifinal win over St. Peter. And both scored 17 points each in a 53-28 rout of New London-Spicer in the final. Lourdes was the third girls' team to repeat after New York Mills and Little Falls.
OTHER NOTABLE TEAMS
New York Mills (25-1), 1979
This was the third of three straight champions led by the remarkable Janet Karvonen. Only the Edina boys had ever before won three straight state titles.
Albany (26-0), 1980
Albany deprived New York Mills of a fourth straight title. Guard Kelly Skalicky set a scoring record with 45 points that stood until 2008.
Little Falls (26-0), 1984
This was the first of two consecutive champions under coach Jerry Cool. Deb Hilmerson starred in 1984; Sue Lies for the 1985 edition.
Burnsville (25-2), 1992
The second straight and third overall title for the Braves came as a result of the heroics of Tricia Wakely and Chelsea Schwankl.
Bloomington Jefferson (26-1), 1993
This was the second of four state titles for the Jaguars and the first of two consecutive championships which were led by guard Kiersten Miller.
Fosston (29-0), 2001
The second of three Class A championships in 2000, 2001 and 2003, these Greyhounds won three tournament games by an average of 15 points as Kelly Roysland led all Class A scorers with 66 points.
Lakeville (28-0), 2002
Led by All-America center Liz Podominick, Lakeville won its second straight Class AAAA title in 2002 by grinding out three wins by an average score of 48-37.
Marshall (29-0), 2002
The Tigers repeated as Class AAA champion, winning three games by an average of 62-41. Shannon Bolden scored a tournament-high 70 points, half of them in a semifinal win over Prior Lake.
Hopkins (31-1), 2004
The 2004 team has the best win-loss record of any of Hopkins' three champions and won three tournament games by 14, 17 and 18 points. Leslie Knight led Class AAAA in scoring with 65 points in three games.
Minneapolis South (31-2), 2009
South and superstar Tayler Hill had lost in the 2007 and 2008 finals, the latter in a huge upset, but would not be denied in 2009. Hill scored a record-tying 47 points to hold Centennial at bay 68-61.