Both the Cambridge-Isanti Bluejacket and North Branch Viking boys basketball teams were rewarded for their strong regular seasons with a higher seed in their respective section tournaments, affording them one last opportunity to play in front of their home crowds.
In Section 7AAA, North Branch was given the #2 seed. Since there are only six teams in the section, that seeding also gives the Vikings a quarterfinal bye, sending them directly to the semifinals. There, they will face the winner of #3 Duluth Denfeld versus #6 Hibbing at home on Friday, March 10. During the regular season, the Vikings defeated both of those teams, edging out an 80-75 win over Denfeld in the second game of the season and easily topping Hibbing 74-31.
Should they win the semifinal game, they will most likely face #1 seed Hermantown in the section championship game on March 16, with the location to be determined. The Hawks were the only Section 7AAA team to defeat NB this season, topping the Vikings 72-59.
In Section 7AAAA, C-I was afforded the #3 seed thanks in large part to their 5-1 record against fellow section schools. The Jackets’ quarterfinal game was scheduled for Wednesday, March 8, against #6 seed Forest Lake, who the Jackets had defeated 82-78 during the regular season.
The Jackets wound up defeating the Rangers in thrilling fashion, winning 63-60, with the game-winning basket coming off a John Troolin steal and layup with just 25 seconds remaining in the game. They will now face #2-seed Duluth East in the semifinals, which are scheduled to be played at Princeton on Saturday, March 11. The Jackets also own a victory over East during the regular season. Should they make it to the section championship game, it will be played on March 16 at Chisago Lakes. Andover was given the #1 seed in the section, making them the favorites to advance to the finals.
C-I and NB finished their regular seasons with a game against each other, with the Jackets coming out on top 83-63. Kobe Karels scored 28 points for the Jackets, with Brody Beaver scoring 20 points for the Vikings. The win gave the Jackets an undefeated home record during the regular season.
JACKET GIRLS ONE AND DONE
The Bluejacket girls had their season come to an end in the Section 7AAAA quarterfinals at Andover by a score of 54-41. Haylie Jerde scored 11 points in the game, with Croix Vavra adding 10. The Jackets finished with a 19-8 record.
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