Posted On: 05/14/19 11:04 AM

Last week we wrote a preview story of the 2019 AAU State Tournament outlining our ‘dark horses’ and ‘Dangerfields’ selections. The dark horses are those teams we thought might finish higher than their seed would indicate; the Dangerfields (as in Rodney) are teams we felt might be deserving of a little more respect. So how did they do? We are pleased to report that 6 of our 8 selections did outperform expectations. Yes, we do get it right occasionally!

In 2020, #11 seed United finished 8th. After advancing to the second round with a win over #6 Fury 2020 Yellow, United was bounced by Paige Bueckers and Metro Stars Starks 2020. No shame in that, and they played hard to the final whistle. A top-8 finish is impressive considering that the top 7 teams are all well-established clubs with two teams at every age level and a history of success. United is a team of players from Spring Lake Park high school just trying to improve their school program. It is led by junior point guard Joelle Talso and freshman guard Averi Dunbar. Well done!

Meanwhile #5 seed North Tartan 2020 Elite played according to plan, although they did finish one spot below their seed in 6th. NT fell 48-45 in their final game on Sunday to Stars 2020 Antl which was led by Nneka Obiazor of Eden Prairie and Grace Kirk of Duluth Marshall.

In 2021, #5 Comets Elite finished third with wins over #12 Fury 2021 Yellow, #4 UVA 2021 Coley and #2 North Tartan 2021 Elite. They lost a close one in the semifinals to #1 North Tartan 2021 EYBL before winning in overtime in the 3rd place game. Along the way Paige Meyer (Albany), Julia Bengtson (Becker) and company were one of the most entertaining teams in the tournament. Bengtson led her team to the Class AAA high school championship game this season. Meyer carried Albany to the tournament, as well, and would be a standout performer on any team in the Class of 2021. Meanwhile our freshman Dangerfield – #12 Fury 2021 Yellow – also outperformed expectations by finishing 9th. After losing in the opening round, Yellow defeated Crossfire Herman and Minnesota Heat Vang.

In 2022, #4 Stars Nilsen finished 4th. Entering the season there were a lot of question marks about the Stars’ top freshmen team. The squad turned over half its roster, and lost three of the top prospects in the state to the Fury (Ellie Buzzelle of Rogers, Emma Miller of STMA and Alexa Ratzlaff of Rosemount), but performed beyond expectations in the Prelims and at State. Led by Edina guards Dorothy Stotts and Ella Campbell, Matt Nilsen’s team has a bright future this seasson

Meanwhile, the Stars’ second team outperformed its seed by four places, which is what we anticipated might happen. The 13th-seeded Bjorgaard took home 9th place as Lily Fandre of Eagan had another strong weekend as did Ava Stier of Waconia, who scored 21 points in the Stars’ final game to defeat Metro Stars 2022.

Finally, in the 8th grade class we missed the mark on #7 Metro Stars Wiese. The team in green looked great the first couple of weeks of the season but has struggled a bit the last two weekends. Despite more strong play from point guard Priyanka Satish of Eden Prairie, the Metro Stars finished 1-2 to tie for 9th place.

Our 2023 Dangerfield #10 North Tartan Wolkow finished in 7th place. After beating Metro Stars Wiese in the opening round Maddie Wolkow’s girls nearly knocked off #2 seed Minnesota Elite, falling by 4 after an incredible performance. They rebounded in the final game to knock off Minnesota Stars Wolyniec. We were very impressed all weekend by Drew Johnston of Roseville, Sophie Lahti of Pine City, and Abby Nechanicky of Wayzata, three players you’ll be hearing about more in the weeks ahead.

WHO FINISHED WHERE?

Class of 2020 Results

1st – Fury 2020 UAA

2nd – North Tartan EYBL

3rd – Metro Stars Starks

4th – Suns Bluestar

5th – Stars Antl

6th – North Tartan Elite

7th – E1T1 Premier

8th – United 2020

Top scorers (points per game)

Each players Prep Girls Hoops ranking by class is listed, as well.

14.3 – Amari Piepkorn, MN/WI Force (Christ’s Household of Faith) #55

14.0 – Liza Karlen, Metro Stars Starks (Stillwater) #8

13.5 – Lindsey Becher, North Tartan Elite (Mounds View) #24

12.5 – Lauren Frost, Fury 2020 UAA (Park Center) #15

12.0 – Lauren Jensen, North Tartan EYBL (Lakeville North) #2

Class of 2021 Results

1st – Fury 2021 UAA

2nd – North Tartan EYBL

3rd – Comets Elite

4th – North Tartan Elite

5th – Stars Hersch

6th – UVA Coley

7th – Tayler Hill Elite

8th – MN/WI Force

Leading scorers

18.0 – Alexis Pratt, Fury 2021 UAA (Stillwater) #23

17.0 – Frankie Vascellaro, UVA 2021 Navy (Holy Angels) #25

14.5 – Paige Meyer, Comets Elite (Albany) #17

11.5 – Adalia McKenzie, North Tartan EYBL (Park Center) #1

10.25 – Maya Nnaji, North Tartan EYBL (Hopkins) #1 in 2022

Class of 2022 Results

1st – Fury 2022 UAA

2nd – North Tartan Elite

3rd – DTA Academy Blue

4th – Stars Nilsen

5th – MN P.R.E.P

6th – UVA Ware

7th – North Tartan Scalia

8th – So. Minnesota Fury

Leading scorers

22.25 – Desiree Ware, UVA Ware (Minnetonka) #6

17.25 – Mallory Heyer, Fury 2022 UAA (Chaska) #3

13.25 – Sydney Runsewe, MN P.R.E.P (DeLaSalle) #24

12.75 – Tessa Johnson, North Tartan Elite (STMA) 2023

11.67 – Kaila Youngs, 43 Hoops (Delano) NR

Class of 2023

1st – Fury 2023 UAA

2nd – Stars Hersch

3rd – North Tartan Milan

4th – Minnesota Elite

5th – Suns Bluestar

6th – 43 Hoops Martin

7th – North Tartan Wolkow

8th – Stars Wolyniec

Leading scorers

16.0 – Audrey Kormann, Crossfire Vaughn (Osseo-Maple Grove)

16.0 – Laura Hauge, North Tartan Milan (St. Croix Lutheran)

14.3 – Abby Krzewinski, Crossfire Vaughn (Wayzata)

13.0 – Maren Westin, Comets Elite (Becker)

12.75 – Savannah McGowan, Suns Bluestar (Armstrong)

12.67 – Lauren Knudson, Metro Stars Wiese (Orono)

12.0 – Shania Nichols-Van Nett, Stars Hersch (Como Park)

D2 TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS

2020 – #5 seed So. Minnesota Fury 2020

2021 – #2 seed Minnesota Stars DeSart

2022 – #2 seed Minnesota Suns Bluestar

2023 – #17 seed 43 Hoops Champ

Top photo: Albany point guard Paige Meyer led Minnesota Comets Elite to a top-three finish in the Class of 2021. The Comets lineup also includes Becker starters Julia Bengtson, Megan Gamble, Courtney Nuest and Alayna Lindquist. (Photo courtesy of St. Cloud Times)