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Top-seeded Raiders begin state quest
Last year’s Roseville Area High School boys basketball team opened the post-season with a victory over North St. Paul and eventually lost in overtime in the section final. Fast forward a year and the Raiders might be having some deja vu moments while preparing for their playoff opener.
Once again Roseville is the No. 1 seed and takes on eighth-seeded North St. Paul in the quarterfinals, which are Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Raiders are hoping the similarities to last year end in the semifinals.
After cruising past North St. Paul in the playoffs last season, Roseville went on to edge fifth-seeded Mounds View by just two points in the semifinals. In the section final, Roseville and Woodbury went back and forth until the Royals pulled out a 68-66 win in overtime.
This year, Roseville is guaranteed to face a different team in the semifinals as the fourth seed is Stillwater and the fifth seed is White Bear Lake. Stillwater has given the Raiders all they could handle a couple of times in recent seasons. The Ponies won by 16 at Roseville on Feb. 15 and handed the Raiders one of only two Suburban East Conference losses last season.
White Bear Lake played tough against Roseville at White Bear on Jan. 22, losing by only six, but couldn’t stay with the Raiders a week ago in a 16-point loss.
Assuming both teams can take care of business in the first two rounds, the anticipated match-up in the section would be Roseville vs. Woodbury in the section final. The Royals won game one this season 80-71 on Jan. 18 in Roseville’s first loss of the season to a team from Minnesota. The Raiders returned the favor on its home floor 74-52 on Feb. 22 to tie the Royals atop the SEC standings.
Roseville then won its final two games of the regular season to secure a share of the conference title, its third in a row.
Roseville enters the post-season ranked fourth in the state in Class AAAA.
The Beacons earned the No. 3 seed in the Section 4AA playoffs and open the post-season at home on Thursday. Concordia hosts 14th-seeded Mounds Park Academy at 7 p.m.
Concordia enters the playoffs with a 14-12 record. The Beacons have won their past two games, which came in the consolation bracket of the Tri-Metro Conference tournament. Following a first-round loss to Breck, Concordia bounced back to beat St. Paul Academy and Providence Academy to claim fifth place.
The Concordia/Mounds Park Academy winner advances to Saturday’s quarterfinals against either 11th-seeded Trinity or sixth-seeded St. Paul Humboldt. Regardless of whom they would face, the Beacons would play at home on Saturday if they advance.
The section playoffs continue next week with the semifinals on March 12 at Macalester College in St. Paul. The finals, also at Macalester, are March 15 at 8:15 p.m.
Brian Meyers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.