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4A, 3A championship game previews

By Brian Stensaas and Jim Paulsen, Star Tribune, 03/24/12, 1:30AM CDT



Osseo (29-2) vs. Lakeville North (30-1), 8 p.m., Target Center

Why Osseo will win: Confidence breeds confidence. The Orioles have already slain the dragon, becoming the first team to defeat Hopkins at the state tournament since 2003 (albeit in three overtimes). Big and athletic, the Orioles are ready for an encore.

Why Lakeville North will win: The Panthers won't be fazed. They fended off a plucky Moorhead team in the quarterfinals, then rallied from 14 points down late in the first half to rout Eden Prairie. City pride, too. They're the first Lakeville team to appear in the championship game.

Key to watch: Which team has the most emotional gas left in the tank after making big comebacks on Thursday.

Did you know: Seven of the teams' starters in the semifinals also played on their football teams: Will Johnson, Bridgeport Tusler and DJ Hebert (Osseo); Trey Heid, Joel Oxton, Grant Erickson and Brett Rasmussen (Lakeville North).



Minneapolis Washburn (29-2) vs. DeLaSalle (25-6), 6 p.m., Target Center

Why Washburn will win: Depth is difficult to defend. The Millers have four players who average 11 or more points per game, led by Dwight Anderson's 14.3 average. Few teams crash the offensive boards better than Washburn.

Why DeLaSalle will win: The Islanders relish, and even thrive on, physical play. DeLaSalle will not beat itself. In two tournament games, the Islanders have turned the ball over just 13 times.

Key to watch: Points in transition. Washburn loves to turn defense into offense. DeLaSalle must make the Millers work for their points and limit Washburn's easy baskets.

Did you know: This will be the first time two schools located within the Minneapolis city limits have played for a boys' basketball state championship.


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