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The Quick Hitter: Good luck picking a favorite in Class B girls tourney

The Tripp-Delmont/Armour girls basketball team celebrates after receiving their Class B state qualifier plaque following a Round of 16 win over Waubay/Summit March 1 in Madison. (Marcus Traxler / Republic)

ABERDEEN—Flip a coin. Draw a name out of a hat. Use a Magic 8-Ball.

No matter what you try, it still might be tough picking a favorite in this year's Class B state girls tournament. The tourney starts today and concludes Saturday at Wachs Arena in Aberdeen.

The eight teams all have 20 or more wins and there's not much separation among the teams in the tourney. I've covered many state girls basketball tournaments and I don't remember a field this loaded top to bottom.

Neither does Hanson coach Jim Bridge.

"It's an outstanding field," Bridge said. "I don't know if I can remember many years where you've had 1 through 8 with all 20 wins."

Faith is the No. 1 seed with a 23-0 record, while Tripp-Delmont/Armour is the No. 8 seed and is not far behind with a 20-3 mark. The rest of the field and their records include: No. 2 Hanson (20-3), No. 3 Sully Buttes (22-1), No. 4 Warner (20-3), No. 5 Castlewood (20-2), No. 6 Ethan (21-2) and No. 7 Avon (20-3).

"I just think it's a really even-matched tournament," Avon coach Brad Poppe said. "Everybody has 20 wins or more. I just think you have a lot of balance and I think it's actually wide open."

That's a cliche for every tournament, but especially this one. And there are some intriguing first-round matchups.

Ethan and Sully Buttes will face each other for the fourth straight state tournament. Avon and Hanson will meet in the first round, after the Beavers won the first meeting 57-51. TDA is a scary No. 8 seed that could easily spoil Faith's undefeated season.

Then there's no telling what will happen Friday and Saturday.

"I really believe any one of those teams is capable of putting three good games together," Ethan coach Tom Young said. "We could play well three games in a row and end with eighth (place). That's a real possibility."