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Boys basketball: Dragons to take on Redwood Valley in Class AA opener

Litchfield drew the No. 2 seed for the Class AA State Boys Basketball Tournament and will play Redwood Valley in the quarterfinals at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the University of Minnesota’s Williams Arena.

The 24-5 Dragons, who defended their Section 6AA title Friday with a 73-59 win over Melrose, are making their sixth trip to the state tournament and their fifth since 2000.

Litchfield won Class AA state championships in 2000, 2002 and 2003 and was the state runner-up last season.

Redwood Valley, also 24-5, earned its state tournament trip with a 72-53 win over Fairmont on Thursday in the Section 3AA title game.

Cardinals teams previously appeared in nine state tournaments and were in the Class AA draw with Litchfield in 2000 and 2002 but the teams didn’t meet.

Litchfield and Redwood Valley haven’t played the last three seasons but they have played five times since 2004, with the Cardinals winning all five games. The last was a 62-61 overtime victory in January 2010 in Litchfield. The five games were decided by a total of 18 points.

In another Class AA quarterfinal, top-seed and Section 4AA champ Minnehaha Academy (23-6) plays Section 8AA champ Perham (23-7) at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Target Center.

Perham and Litchfield are the only Class AA teams returning from last year. The two teams met in the semifinals, with Litchfield winning 33-31. Last year’s Class AA champ, Plainview-Elgin-Millville, was eliminated by Byron 57-54 in the Section 1AA final on Thursday.

Another 2011-12 state tournament team, St. Peter, was knocked out by Hayfield 56-51 in the Section 2AA title game on Friday.

The Perham-Minnehaha Academy winner will face the winner of No. 4-seed Byron (25-4) and No. 5 seed Annandale (20-9), which won the Section 5AA championship 60-38 over Mayer Lutheran on Friday.

The Litchfield-Redwood Valley winner takes on either No. 3-seed Hayfield (22-7) or Esko (26-4), which claimed the Section 7AA title with a 64-63 win over Mora on Saturday.

While the other three classes had seedings and pairings completed on Saturday, Class AA had to wait for the Esko-Mora final and seeded teams Sunday morning.

The Class AA semifinals are at 6 p.m and 8 p.m. Friday at the Target Center. If the Dragons win on Wednesday, they would play the 8 p.m. semifinal.

The Class AA championship game is 2 p.m. Saturday at the Target Center.

All quarterfinal losers are eliminated. Semifinal losers meet in the third-place game at noon Saturday at Concordia-St. Paul.

Tom Larson

Tom Larson is the sports editor of the West Central Tribune.

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