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Girls basketball: Cardinals draw top-ranked Robbinsdale Cooper in state opener

The Alexandria girls basketball team (23-5) will face a big test right off the bat during the Class AAA state tournament this week as the Cardinals drew top-seeded Robbinsdale Cooper for its opener.

The two teams will meet at 10 a.m. on Wednesday at Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota campus.

The Minnesota State High School League requires that teams exchange tape of section championship games, so the Cardinals have gotten a look at the Hawks’ 62-47 win over Benilde-St. Margaret’s.  

“Cooper is quick and athletic,” Alexandria head coach Wendy Kohler said. “They like to full-court press and have a solid post game.”

Robbinsdale Cooper, out of Section 6, is 26-2 this season with its only losses coming to Class AAAA’s Hopkins (26-3) in a 95-68 game on Dec. 12 and to Centennial (24-4) out of Class AAAA in a 75-57 game on Dec. 29.

Robbinsdale Cooper is the top-ranked Class AAA team in the Feb. 28 Minnesota Basketball News polls. Alexandria is ninth in those same rankings.

“Good teams are resilient and have the ability to make adjustments throughout the course of a game. This game will be no different,” Kohler said. “Neither team knows each other very well,  so I feel like that will be important to be able to recognize and make those adjustments as we go.”

Northfield (25-3) was seeded second in the Class AAA state tournament. Academy of Holy Angels (25-4) is third, DeLaSalle (19-8) is fourth and Willmar (25-2) was seeded fifth.

There is a chance Alexandria could face Willmar for the third time this season in the second round matchup if both teams either win or lose their opening game.