South Iron High School will play host to the Class 1 District 2 basketball championships Thursday on J-98, and in both instances the Panthers will square off with the Lesterville Bearcats.

The South Iron girls are searching for their third-straight district title with a 21-4 record and a #4 ranking in the Class 1 coaches poll. Panthers coach Lawrence Graves says the team’s offense is clicking at the right time.

Lesterville needed a heart-stopping 56-55 win over St. Paul in Wednesday night’s semifinals to improve to 10-10 and reach the title game. Despite the uphill challenge facing his team, Bearcats head coach David Burrows likes the fire his team is showing in the postseason.

In the boys championship, South Iron hopes to reach the state tournament for the first time since 2015. This year’s Panthers squad is ranked sixth in Class 1 with a 21-4 record. Panthers coach Dusty Dinkins says things are getting better after sophomore Brock Wakefield’s return from a hand injury.

Lesterville improved to 20-6 by knocking off Leopold 78-60 in the semis last Wednesday night. Bearcats head coach Anthony Caruso says his team has to be ready to play from the opening tip.

Both the girls and boys Class 1 District 2 championships can be heard on J-98 Thursday with pregame coverage beginning at 5:45 p.m.