Give & Go column: S.E. Minnesota is a girls basketball hotbed

Pat Ruff and Brett Boese are Post-Bulletin writers. Ruff can be reached at, Boese at

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ThePlainview-Elgin-Millville girls basketball team shows off its trophy after the Class AA state championship game Saturday at Williams Arena in Minneapolis.

RUFF:So tell me, is this the best that high school girls basketball has ever been in our corner of the state?

Goodhue wins the state Class A championship, Plainview-Elgin-Millville wins it in Class AA, and Winona finishes second in AAA. And to think that all three of those teams were challenged mightily just to get out of Section One. Hoops are alive and well in southeastern Minnesota.

BOESE: Absolutely. Just like I told you last month, Ruff. It's the golden age of local girls hoops.

There's a very real chance that Lyle/Pacelli and Kasson-Mantorville (if healthy) would have celebrated state titles had they survived the Class A and Class AAA gauntlets. And a healthy Mayo squad was one of just four to knock off Minnetonka, the Class AAAA champ, this year, though the Spartans' state hopes went south after star guard Liv Korngable was lost to an ACL injury.

Plus, JM's Jamie Ruden is a finalist for the Miss Basketball award.


RUFF: Yes, there is plenty for Section One basketball enthusiasts to feel good about. Let's change gears and talk about a squad we've devoted little space to since Christmas. The Timberwolves' season is winding down, and once again it will end without a playoff berth.

That's hard to take. Still, I'm feeling much more good than bad about my favorite professional team. Sam Mitchell finally figured out that this season needed to be devoted to the young players, and has changed his starting lineup and minutes allocated accordingly. Towns, Dieng, Wiggins, LaVine and Rubio give the Wolves the most exciting and promising young team out there. I know, their defense is still not acceptable, but that will change over time. Each of them has the athletic ability to eventually get things done at both ends

Now the Wolves' bench, that's another matter. Nobody has a stinkier second five than our guys. What needs to be done to take this team to a playoff level?

BOESE: At the risk of sounding like a homer, the Wolves really aren't that far away from the playoffs. My off-season plan would involve trading Shabazz Muhammad, adding a few veterans in free agency — including a competent back-up point guard — and drafting another high-ceiling youngster.

I want him to succeed, but Minnesota native Tyus Jones simply isn't an NBA player at this point in his career. It's jarring how slow he looks on the floor and how bad he is at defense, especially compared to Ricky Rubio. My wish list also includes a competent third big to rotate with Big KAT and Gorgui Dieng. It sounds silly since the Wolves are already paying KG and Pek around a trillion dollars next year to flaunt their suit game, but rebounding is a major issue right now.

March Madness is in full swing. Who's your team and who do you want the Wolves to draft this summer?

RUFF:My teams have both lost. I really liked Northern Iowa (the Panthers are at least historic, with the biggest and sickest late-game collapse in tournament history) and Xavier (Lakeville North grad J.P. Macura didn't get enough touches), but they were both dismissed in Round 2. Let's go with Oklahoma, largely because I like saying "Buddy," as in Buddy Hield, their star shooting guard. The more times I get to say "Buddy" the rest of this tournament, the better.

In fact, let's take it right into next season. "With the fifth pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select Buddy Hield, from the University of Oklahoma."


It wouldn't only be fun to have a "Buddy" on the team, but he is excellent at nailing 3-pointers. My favorite professional team is desperate for that.

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