Mankato East will collide with Alexandria to open Class AAA tournament
MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - In less than two days on the Williams Arena hardwood, the Mankato East boys’ basketball team begins its quest to capture the Class AAA state championship. The Cougars are back in the state tournament after winning the Section 2AAA title in back-to-back seasons.
This time around, the black and gold defeated Worthington to advance to the big dance.
“I think our slogan at the end of the year here was same dream different team,” said Cougars’ head coach Joe Madson. “It’s kind of fun to see that. We had a really good team last year, finished third in the state and we kind of rebuild with a different identity.”
Mankato East will rely on its depth and leadership from the Giles Lancaster-Carson Schweim duo for a deep-run in the tournament.
“When we play together I think we’re so hard to beat,” added Cougars’ junior forward Schweim. “Anybody can contribute. There’s some games where we have five guys in double digits. Everybody can score. We were really deep team.”
It’s the first time in program history, the 24-5 Cougars claimed the regular-season title and section title in the same season.
An accomplishment fueled by disappointment early in East’s regular-season schedule.
“We had the one week where we lost to Northfield twice, that hurt us,” said Schweim. “That was our low. But, after that we were just like we’re going to turn it on. West hurt. We saw the way west responded and we didn’t want to have that feeling again.”
The squad will meet 24-4 Alexandria on Tuesday at noon inside Williams Arena. The Cardinals return to state after finishing as runners-up to Chet Holmgren and Minnehaha Academy two years ago.
“We’re going to keep proving people wrong and hopefully get some more wins at state,” said Mankato East senior guard Giles Lancaster.
Tune into KEYC News Now this week for highlights of area teams featured in the state high school basketball tournament.
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