The North Branch boys basketball team was unable to pull an upset against top seed and state No. 5-ranked Princeton in the first round of the Section 7AAA playoffs March 5, falling to the Tigers by a score of 82-64.

It was the Vikings’ third loss to Princeton this season, having also met the Tigers twice in Mississippi 8 Conference play.

In his final game for the Vikings, senior center Zach Gazda led the team with 18 points. Gazda finishes his high school career as the program’s all-time leader in blocks and rebounds, and among its best in scoring as well.

Senior forward Colby Knutson (12), junior guard Drew Van Eerden (10), senior forward Conner Hartmann (9), junior guard Carter Whitman (8), freshman center Trevor Johnson (5) and freshman guard Adam Rehm (2) also made the score sheet.

The Vikings finished the 2018-19 campaign with a record of 5-22.

Tigers dropped

In a tough playoff group like Section 6AA, a .500 regular season record sometimes gets you the No. 15 seed.

The Rush City boys basketball team enjoyed its best recent season in 2018-19, but come playoff time, the Tigers were sent to Albany, a team with 21 wins on its resume.

In first-round action March 7, the Huskies dropped the Tigers 57-22, ending the Tigers’ season.

The Tigers finished the year 11-12 overall and wave goodbye to seniors Zane Hahn, Brandon Guptill, Robert Plumley, Seth Hora, Ian Chinn and Derek Murphy.

Girls honored

Three senior members of the Rush City girls basketball team were honored recently: Guard Kaylyn Bowen and forward Jamie Guptill were named to the Section 6AA all-tournament team, and forward Shawna Mell was named a Minnesota All-Star.

Mell will play in the Minnesota Girls Basketball All-Star Series at Carleton College April 13.

After being upset by Royalton in the Section 6AA quarterfinals, the Tigers could only watch as the tournament defied all recent logic.

One can usually just about write in Sauk Centre as a state tournament participant each year, but the Main Streeters were knocked out by Albany in the semifinals, and the Tigers’ Great River Conference foe Pine City advanced to the section final as a No. 6 seed.

The Tigers will not have to watch a conference rival they beat twice go to state; Albany made short work of the Dragons in the championship game March 8.

They might nonetheless wonder what could have been: They beat Albany 54-48 on Jan. 4, and the Tigers were 21-1 in the regular season while Albany was 14-10.

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