If you want to get Skip Dolan going, and it doesn’t take much, ask about the Wright County Conference.
The Annandale boys basketball coach says it is one of the very best in the state. And, based on who is in the state Class 2A semifinals today at Target Center, he has a point.
“We’ve played a brutal schedule,” Dolan said. “We’re a little better than our record shows.”
Fifth-seeded Annandale (21-9) plays top-seeded Minnehaha Academy (24-6) at 6 p.m. in one semifinal. Second-seeded Litchfield (25-5) plays Esko (27-4) at 8 p.m. in the other.
The basketball games are being televised on KSTC-TV Channel 45 in the Twin Cities and Charter Cable Channel 17 in St. Cloud.
The winners advance to the state 2A championship game at 2 p.m. Saturday at Target Center.
Annandale and Litchfield are both Wright County Conference members.
Both had tough quarterfinal games Wednesday, with the Cardinals beating fourth-seeded Byron 56-42 and Litchfield surviving Redwood Valley 64-55 in double overtime.
Dolan pointed out that three Wright County teams are in the state tournament.
Delano lost to St. Paul Johnson in the state Class 3A quarterfinals Wednesday. Waconia and Holy Family Catholic, two other Wright County members, played in section finals.
Minnehaha Academy knows about tough schedules. The Redhawks play in the Tri-Metro Conference, which includes defending state Class 3A champion DeLaSalle and Blake, which also qualified for the 3A tourney.
The Cardinals relish the challenge.
“I can’t wait,” Annandale junior forward Matt Miller said. “We need to stay focused and play our game and take it all the way.”
Minnehaha Academy is making its third state appearance in four years. The Redhawks are led by Kaharri Carter (13.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg), the son of assistant coach Randy Carter. Randy Carter played four years for the Minnesota Gophers. Kaharri Carter is a 6-foot-2 senior guard.
Marcellous Hazzard (12.2 ppg, 7.5 rpg) and Thomas Gedion (10.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg) are the Redhawks’ other top scorers. Hazzard is a 6-2 senior and Gedion is Minnehaha Academy’s tallest starter at 6-4.
It’s a Minneapolis private school with an enrollment of 486. Annandale’s enrollment is 498.