Posted On: 08/2/19 10:29 AM

Since 1991 Pacesetter’s Sweet 16 Championship has brought together four teams from each class for two-days of fun summer basketball. This year will be a little different when the tournament tips off Saturday at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph. That’s because there has been some attrition. As a result, there will be 12 teams playing a modified round robin format. Some of the usual programs that appear in these exhibitions will be on hand – Hopkins, Lakeville North, Stillwater and Minnehaha Academy, for example – but some teams we don’t often see will also be participating, such as Mankato East, Hawley and Red Lake.

Hopkins is the defending champion. They knocked off Holy Family, New Ulm and Minnehaha Academy last year before beating Wayzata by 25 in the penultimate game. Stillwater finished third. In 2017 Hopkins defeated St. Michael-Albertville to win the title.

The games are all 9-minute stop-time quarters and each team will play twice on Saturday and twice on Sunday. Here are some games to see, a list of the top prospects who are expected to participate, along with the complete Saturday schedule. Sunday’s brackets will not be determined until after Saturday’s games have been completed.

3 GAMES TO SEE ON SATURDAY

2:20 p.m. – Waconia vs Hawley (court 4)

Ava Stier of Waconia is a rising star in the Class of 2022. The 38th-ranked sophomore in the state, Stier plays with a big motor that never stops running. Senior all-conference player Tess Johnson will also be on hand as will long bomber Sydni Olson. Unfortunately, the highly talented Addy Salzer is expected to miss the tournament due to injury. Hawley is a fun team to watch. The Nuggets boast Paige Thompson, a versatile big who has committed to MSU-Moorhead, along with the always-exciting twins Kaylie Crabtree and Kylie Crabtree.

3:40 p.m. – Proctor vs Austin (court 1)

Proctor brings a veteran lineup to town, including big post Katelyn Marunich and crafty guard Sam Parendo. Sam Pogatchnik and Morgan Nylund are also key pieces for the Rails. Austin is led by point guard Hope Dudycha along with senior guard Colie Justice, junior guard Elise Hebrink and senior forward Kyra Walters. Emma Dudycha is an impact player for the Packers, as well.

5:00 p.m. – Red Lake vs Minnehaha Academy (court 2)

Red Lake loves to play run-and-gun basketball, and they are always entertaining. The Lady Warriors also have one of the most enthusiastic and loyal fans bases around as a large contingent from the Red Lake Nation usually travels with the team during the high school season. The very talented Angel McLain has graduated but there are more McLains on the way. Minnehaha Academy is in full rebuild mode after winning the state AA championship. Division 1 prospect Mia Curtis returns at point guard as does Tanna Gallo.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Class of 2020

#1 Paige Bueckers, Hopkins (UCONN)

#2 Lauren Jensen, Lakeville North (Iowa)

#7 Liza Karlen, Stillwater (Marquette)

#20 Mia Curtis, Minnehaha Academy

#21 Annika Stewart, Wayzata (Nebraska)

Class of 2021

#2 Jenna Johnson, Wayzata

#12 Alexis Pratt, Stillwater

#53 Sydni Olson, Waconia

#59 Gionna Carr, Stillwater

Class of 2022

#1 Maya Nnaji, Hopkins

#2 Amaya Battle, Hopkins

#4 Mara Braun, Wayzata

#12 Lexi Karge, Mankato East

#21 Telia Graham, Minnehaha

#24 Ellie Colbeck, Fergus Falls

#27 Alayna Contreras, Hopkins

#29 Selam Maher, Hopkins

#38 Ava Stier, Waconia

#44 McKenzie Schweim, Mankato East

SATURDAY’S SCHEDULE

11:40 a.m. – Hopkins vs Red Lake (1)

11:40 a.m. – Waconia vs Wayzata (2)

1:00 p.m. – Lakeville North vs Mankato East (2)

2:20 p.m. – Stillwater vs Proctor (1)

2:20 p.m.  – Hopkins vs Minnehaha Academy (3)

2:20 p.m.  – Waconia vs Hawley (4)

3:40 p.m. – Proctor vs Austin (1)

3:40 p.m.  – Lakeville North vs Fergus Falls (4)

5:00 p.m.  – Wayzata vs Hawley (1)

5:00 p.m.  – Red Lake vs Minnehaha Academy (2)

5:00 p.m. – Mankato East vs Fergus Falls (3)

5:00 p.m. – Stillwater vs Austin (4)

Top photo: The Red Lake Lady Warriors will be on hand Saturday at the Sweet 16. (Photo courtesy of Red Lake Nation News)