East Ridge's Kendall Brown drives to the basket against Hopkins as teammate Ben Carlson (23) looks on in a Dec. 1 Breakdown Tournament game. They are among the reasons the Raptors earned the Star Tribune's No. 1 ranking. Photo: Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine
1. East Ridge (4A)
Primed to take the next step, the Raptors were Suburban East Conference and Class 4A, Section 4 runners-up to state champion Cretin-Derham Hall a year ago. That won’t suffice in 2018-19.
2. Hopkins (4A)
The Royals haven’t reached the state tournament since winning the Class 4A championship in 2016. Coach Ken Novak has too much talent for that to happen a third consecutive year.
3. Eden Prairie (4A)
Coach David Flom and the Eagles have never won a state crown. His talented junior class still might be a year away, but the same cast finished fourth in the Class 4A state tournament last season.
4. Lakeville North (4A)
Coach John Oxton and the Panthers always seem to wind up playing in Target Center come March. Is there any reason to believe Lakeville North won’t make its eighth consecutive state tournament appearance?
5. Park Center (4A)
The Pirates came up short a year ago in their bid to make the Class 4A state tourney field for the first time since being the runner-up in 2013. That will change this season.
6. Minnehaha Academy (2A)
After back-to-back Class 2A state titles for a team guided by junior Jalen Suggs, the Redhawks won’t start a senior in their star-studded lineup.
7. Wayzata (4A)
The Trojans aren’t big, but are skilled, know how to compete at a high level and their entire backcourt returns. Don’t be caught off guard by any accomplishments.
8. Prior Lake (4A)
The Lakers return four starters, including two Division I players, from their 22-victory group of a year ago. Their size and athleticism could lead to a state tournament berth.
9. Cretin-Derham Hall (4A)
The Class 4A defending state champions aren’t in rebuild mode, just reloading. This will be a fast-paced group after losing its interior strength to graduation.
10. DeLaSalle (3A)
The Islanders streak of six consecutive Class 3A state championships came to an end last year, just providing more incentive for the 2018-19 season.