The Prior Lake boys basketball team enters Section 2AAAA play with 23 wins.
One more and the Lakers match the program's record for wins in a season. Two more and the Lakers set new school mark and will earn their first-ever berth into a section final as a Class 4A program.
Three more and Prior Lake will compete in its first state tournament since 1977. The Lakers won back-to-back Class 2A crowns in 1977 and 1978, going 24-4 and 24-1, respectively.
Fifth-ranked Prior Lake (23-3 overall) finished the regular season March 1 with an easy 85-50 victory at Rosemount in South Suburban Conference play. The Lakers were second behind No. 4 Lakeville North in the SSC standings with a 16-2 mark.
It's no surprise Prior Lake earned the No. 1 seed in Section 2AAAA and will open the quarterfinals at home versus eighth-seeded Bloomington Jefferson (11-14) at 7 p.m.
Eden Prairie (17-9) earned the No. 2 seed and will take on seventh-seeded Minnetonka (13-13) in the first round, while third-seeded Edina (18-8) gets sixth-seeded Chanhassen (17-9) and fourth-seeded Shakopee (21-6) will take on fifth-seeded Chaska (21-6).
The semifinals are March 9 at the site of the higher seed at 1 and 3 p.m. The title game is also on the court of the higher seed March 15 at 7 p.m. Eden Prairie is the defending champion.
For complete brackets, go to www.mshsl.org.
The one concern for the Lakers heading into the playoffs is the health of junior forward Dawson Garcia, who leads the team at 27.5 points per game. He missed the team's last 12 regular season games with a stress fracture, but has been cleared for the playoffs.
Prior Lake went 11-1 in his absence. Junior Tyree Ihenacho led the Lakers at Rosemount with 20 points, while senior Sam Nissen scored 12 and junior Robert Jones had 11.
Senior Jake Veldman was also in double figures with 10 points, while sophomore Kyle McCullough scored 8, senior Jackyse Jacox had six and senior Nick Mullins had five.