Joe Coleman led Hopkins to a 71-57 victory over Owatonna this morning in a state tournament quarterfinal. Coleman scored 20 points on 8 for 14 shooting, 4 for 7 from the foul line, plus he had four rebounds, three steals, and two assists in 30 minutes. The Royals will play again tomorrow evening in the state semi-final against the winner of Duluth East and Cretin-Derham Hall.
Hopkins opened the game somewhat slow getting beat on backdoor cuts and constant ball movement from Owatonna. The charged up Huskies grabbed a 10-7 lead but they received an early reminder of what they were facing when Coleman slid into help position and swatted an attempt into press row. From there the Hopkins defense stepped it up with ball pressure and bodies jumping into passing lanes.
In the second half Hopkins lead was cut to six as Vaughn Thada was up for the challenge. An NBA trey and two field goals cut the Royal lead to six points (56-50) but then the Royals were jumpstarted. First Nick Jorgensen hit a momentous three followed by two free throws from Joe and then a massive slam on the break. Siyani Chambers set Joe up with a pass to the middle and Joe jumped over 6-foot-3 Logan Busho for a one-handed slam that sent the crowd into a frenzy. Hopkins built the lead to 63-50 and never looked back winning 71-57.
"I felt coming into the game that we had to come out and get consecutive stops," said Joe in the post game interview. "Early we scored and then they scored and it continued to alternate. We started to put a more consistent effort on defense which allowed us to put a lead on them and from there we locked them up."
With a Stanford assistant coach watching the crowd Siyani Chambers quarterbacked his team to the 14 point win. Siyani had an off day shooting making only 3 of 12 attempts (1 of 7 from the three point line) but he still had 12 points. Chambers turned the ball over five times but his ball pressure was a huge reason why the Huskies turned the ball over 22 times.
Northern Iowa signed Marvin Singleton was the man in the middle this afternoon as Owatonna didn't have anybody to slow him down. Marvin hit on 7 of 12 attempts, and 6 of 8 free throws for 20 points to go with 16 rebounds. On the negative side, Singleton turned the ball over on six occasions.
Impressive was junior Zach Stahl. His numbers were good at 11 points, six rebounds, and four assists but most impressive were his baseline jumpers. Zach caught from Coleman on the wing to hit a 17 footer and also made the most impressive score of the contest fading off one dribble baseline to square up and hit in MJ fashion. College coaches in attendance definitely were impressed.
Vaughn Thada showed up and opened eyes. The 6-foot-3 Owatonna guard scored on 7 of 15 attempts including an NBA trey pulling up off the dribble. He finished with a game high 24 points.