For the last 15 years, Section 1A boys basketball has had a formula. That formula generally included a lot of R-P and a bit of Goodhue. The Trojans (9) and Wildcats (3) won all but three Section 1A titles. J.W.P., Faribault B.A., and Spring Grove made one-year state runs. Bethany Academy (twice), Southland, FC, BP, and Randolph had seasons, making section title games. Go ahead and try to figure a formula this year. It’s a mess. R-P is 5-6 overall (1-4 in TRC). Spring Grove has lost three SEC games (ending a massive league winning streak). Two section cash cows aren’t quite so weighty while Goodhue is Class AA. There is a lot of night-to-night competitiveness. It’s as open as it’s been a long time. A majority of Round of 16 play-off games should be competitive.
The top section contender, thus far (as of Jan 7), is probably #12 Blooming Prairie (6-0). Coming off a state football title, BP is the last unbeaten team. The Blossoms have notable section wins over Hayfield 65-40 and Southland 72-63. Five of BP’s wins are by 20-plus points. Sporting a great record is Tom Bance coached Schaeffer Academy. The Lions (12-1) have notable section wins over Houston 76-61, and Spring Grove 50-38. SA’s only loss is 47-36 to Goodhue (7-1). They’ve won nine straight. Hayfield might check in next. The #14 Vikings (8-3) made the section final four last year, losing 45-43 to SG. Team Hay has notable section wins over Randolph 66-60, W-K 52-43, GM 56-51, and R-P 66-46. They have losses to #12 BP (6-0), #9 Springfield (8-1), and #5 W-E-M (10-1), the latter by one in OT. Quickly moving up the list is Lyle/Pacelli (9-3). The Athletics are hot, having won nine straight. Included are “W”s over W-K 65-51, SG 67-60 in OT, Crestwood 66-65, and Randolph 81-75. L/P lost its first three games, 67-58 to Randolph, 49-47 to FC, and 51-40 to GM.
Starting the next tier of teams is Randolph. The Rockets (7-5) own wins over L/P 67-58, GM 73-55, and SG 55-40. Their losses are 81-75 to L/P, 66-60 to Hayfield (8-3), 64-61 to Goodhue (8-1), 81-71 to La Crescent (8-3), and 63-58 to Pine Island. The latter three are Class AA. Grand Meadow (9-3) ranks roughly next. The Larks (8-3) beat Rochester-Lourdes 49-46. Their best section win is over L/P 51-40. They have losses to Randolph 73-55, Houston 67-58, and Hayfield 56-51. Southland (5-4) is another team plus-500. A 70-46 decision over W-K is their best win. The Rebels eked out an OT victory over FC 77-72. They are BP’s closest game (72-63). Then maybe comes Spring Grove. The Lions have the best coaching tandem (Wade Grinde/Tom Vix). SG (5-5) owns a win over Nevis (9-1) at R-P’s Tourney. They have losses to SA 50-38, Randolph 55-40, L/P 67-60 in OT, Crestwood 51-36, and Decorah 55-34. They stole a victory in OT from Houston 63-58.
A third group of teams is headed by W-K. The Falcons (5-5) own wins over Houston (56-51) and R-P (47-39). They have section losses to Southland 70-46, L/P 65-51, and Hayfield 52-43. W-K also played D-E (with Brady Williams) to a 63-58 loss. Houston (7-6) is the ninth section team above .500. The Hurricanes’ best win is over GM 67-58. They have close section losses, 56-51 to W-K and 63-58 in OT to SG. Finding itself in rare territory is R-P. The Trojans (5-6) don’t have a marquee section win yet. A 60-55 win over G-E-T is their best victory. They’ve dropped two straight to W-K 47-39 and Hayfield 66-46. L-O (5-7) rounds out the third group of four teams. The Cardinals (5-6) don’t have a key win. GM (62-54) and SA (69-65) are close section losses.
The last tier of teams includes FC, Kingsland, and Lanesboro. FC (3-8) owns the best win of the group, 49-47 over L/P. They also took Southland to OT (lost 77-72). A loss to Kingsland 63-61 was on a last second shot. The Burros (4-7) beat the Falcons 66-59. Lanesboro also played three close section games, losing 54-50 to SA, 56-51 to L/P, and 72-68 to L-O. The Knights (5-7) also beat FC 63-61. Five of their section losses have been by double figures. Kingsland played L-O closer, losing 65-59. United Christian Academy (3-5) also is in the section, but they fell 81-44 to SA. M-C (2-9), G-E (1-9), and B-A. (0-10) round out the teams in the section. Section 1AA is similarly highly competitive. Eight teams have at least eight wins and four or less losses; #2 Caledonia (11-0), #3 Lake City (10-1), #10 Stewartville (9-2), #17 Goodhue (8-1), L-A (8-3), PEM (8-2), Cannon Falls (8-4), and La Crescent (8-3).