Posted On: 03/12/18 10:45 PM

10 a.m. #1 seed, #2 ranked Cooper (26-2) vs unseeded, #11 ranked Alexandria (23-5)

It took a nail-biting 46-45 victory over their rivals from Fergus Falls, but the Alexandria Cardinal made it to the state AAA tournament. That's the good news. The bad news is they drew the high-flying Cooper Hawks in the opening round, a daunting task to be sure. Led by seniors Courtney Gold and Emma Schmidt, juniors Kaye Paschke and McKenzie Duwenhoegger, and talented sophomore Ella Grove, Alex has had a great season. They won 15 games in a row at one point, a streak that was halted by losses to Brainerd and Willmar. With just five losses, you'd think Alexandria would be well-positioned for round one. Probably not.

Coach Kiara Buford has been building Robbinsdale Cooper into championship contender, and a drop down from 4A to 3A has seen the Hawks dominate this season. Cooper enters the tournament on an 18-game win streak, including easy section victories over Orono and Benilde-St. Margaret's. Led by the Wheeler sisters – junior guard Aja and freshman post Kierra – the Hawks have a bus load of quick, athletic, speedsters. Cooper's only losses were to a pair of elite 4A

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