Ryan Dufault.jpg

Waseca's Ryan Dufault scored 23 points during the Bluejays' 83-58 win over Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta Wednesday night. (Lucas Seehafer/southernminn.com)

The Minnesota Class AA boys basketball state tournament will come to a conclusion Saturday afternoon and either the Waseca Bluejays or the Caledonia Warriors will be crowned as champions. Here's a preview of the championship matchup.

Game

No. 1 Waseca (22-1) versus No. 2 Caledonia (23-1), April 10, 3 p.m., Target Center

Recent results

The Bluejays largely strolled to a 72-58 win over Fergus Falls in the Class AA state tournament semifinals Wednesday evening. The Warriors upset Minneapolis North, 60-55, in the game prior. Waseca and Caledonia last met during the 2019-20 season when the Warriors came out on top, 81-73.

Waseca: 2

Caledonia: 5

Key wins (QRF ranking)

Waseca: Fergus Falls (6), Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta (9), Marshall x3 (15; Class AAA), Blue Earth Area x2 (20), Waconia (22; Class AAA), New Prague (51; Class AAAA)

Caledonia: Minneapolis North (1), Stewartville x2 (11), Byron (14; Class AAA), St. Croix Prep (15), Plainview-Elgin-Millville x2 (31)

Unlike the other opponents during their postseason run, the Bluejays don't own an obvious advantage in the key wins category. Both teams beat up on less skilled opponents during the regular season — as they are supposed to — and boast many wins over high-quality opponents. This category is essentially a toss up.

Key losses

Waseca: Minnehaha Academy (1; Class AAA)

Caledonia: Onalaska (WI)

Same song, same dance in the key losses category. Both Waseca and Caledonia have only lost once during the 2021 season, both coming on the road against opponents who were favored to win. Neither of these losses should be considered a bad loss, so, again, this one is a toss up.

Matchup to watch

Andrew Morgan versus Sam Privet. Ryan Dufault versus Caledonia's elite guards. Kyreese Willingham versus Austin Klug. It's impossible to pick a single matchup to keep an eye on in this one. Both teams are loaded with talent and are every bit eachother's equal. Waseca has the second-best offense (81.2 points per game) in Class AA, while Caledonia comes in third (79.3). The Bluejays own the 23rd best defense (53.9), while Caledonia ranks 25th (54.9). The Bluejays' roster possesses multiple college-level athletes and so does the Warriors. Yet another toss up.

Prediction

Waseca 76, Caledonia 71

Expect this one to be a nail-bitter all game long. The Bluejays and Warriors will hang tough with each other from start to finish, with no lead extending beyond 10 points. If Caledonia's star guard Eli King were healthy, they'd probably be the favorite to win, but ultimately Andrew Morgan, Ryan Dufault and Kyreese Willingham are just too much for Caledonia. Waseca will take home their first boys basketball state title since 1918.

Reach Regional Sports Editor Lucas Seehafer at 507-444-2375. © Copyright 2021 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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