Winning a 4th Sweet 16 title in six years is an impressive accomplishment for Hopkins. Even more impressive when you consider they played Saturday night without Joe Coleman or Jacob Petersen and they played the Sunday games without Marvin Singleton and Demetrius Martin. Point guard Siyani Chambers also earned credit as player/coach over the two day period as Hopkins didn't appoint an adult bench leader because they didn't need one. Chambers confidently led his team over Apple Valley and Eastview in convincing wins.
Joe Coleman - Coleman missed round two Saturday night to be at a wedding but his presence was certainly felt on Sunday as nobody on Apple Valley or Eastview had a player strong enough to stop Coleman around the basket or quick enough to cut him off from getting to the lane on a regular basis. Coleman built up his offer list this off-season showing college programs his ability to pull-up and hit from the perimeter. This weekend Joe didn't even need that jumper as he was able to get to the rim any time he wanted showcasing about four highlight dunks in both the semi-final and the final. Joe recorded 30 points, ten rebounds and a pair of assists in the semi-final with 27 points and seven boards in the championship.
Siyani Chambers - For years Chambers has been described as one of the best leaders in Minnesota high school basketball and that was apparent this weekend when the Hopkins Royals convincingly won the Pacesetter Sweet 16 without a coach and missing a pair of key players. Chambers was constantly in control of the team huddles much like he was constantly in control of the basketball in the four victories. In the much anticipated match-up against Tyus Jones, Chambers penetrated middle all game as he went to the foul line to shoot 20 free throws in the 36 minutes of game action. Siyani scored 26 points in addition to six assists against Apple Valley that included a couple of well placed alley-oops and a couple backdoor cuts. Against Eastview Siyani created numerous scores for Zach Stahl and Joe Coleman slashing on the wing on his way to nine assists. And most importantly Chambers made sure every Royal on the floor was involved offensively all weekend long.
Tyus Jones - Minnesota was able to get a different look at Tyus Sunday after three of his teammates had to be helped off the floor because of injury and William & Mary commit Thomas Schalk was forced to the bench with foul trouble. Initially Jones put on a passing clinic with full court overhead passes, incredible skip passes, bounce passes from all angles, and penetrate and kick creations that were all on the money. But with four regulars out of the line-up Tyus went to his scoring ability putting up 40 points on 12 of 27 field goal shooting with 14 of 16 makes from the foul line. At one point one high school coach from the metro saw Tyus force a shot and he said "I think that's the first bad decision I've ever seen him make".
Joey King - Joey gave Eastview several scoring bursts over the weekend including a monster second half against Benilde-St. Margaret's that included a couple dunks and three three-pointers. King hit what was likely the most dramatic shot of the weekend when he nailed a three from the top of the key with three seconds to go against Lakeville South. The shot put Eastview up for good resulting in a Sweet 16 championship game appearance for the club. In the title game King scored a dozen points including a three, a backdown jumphook from four feet, and a tough three point play where a Hopkins big hammered Joey's arm but King still finished.
Zach Stahl - Described as a "jack of all trades" by one local high school coach, Stahl just received a scholarship offer from Loyola-Chicago and it's likely the first of many to come. Stahl looked like a crisply skilled product as he seems to be able to score in all facets in the halfcourt set. Stahl hit with range, he hard cut to the rim several times to score off Chambers assists, Stahl created space with one or two dribbles, and he absorbed contact to score several times. Stahl is definitely moving up the prospect ladder in Minnesota's 2012 class.
Kyle Noreen - As usual Kyle was an all around weapon for MTS doing just about everything on the floor. Final stats for the standout? 18.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, 8.3 assists, and 5.5 steals a game. He handled the ball for the Wolves, spent time defending the opposition's best scorer, and overall was a calming factor for Transitions who won three games using some new and talented players. MTS looks like a strong favorite to repeat in class A next year.
Rodney Owens - Owens had an eye-opening weekend leading MTS in scoring with 95 points in four games. The floor game of Owens is much improved since he was first seen by locals back in December. As a slasher there were few better in St. Josephs as Rodney cruised by defenses to finish high at the rim on a regular basis. Apollo, Ellsworth, nor WEM had an athlete who could keep Owens in front of them and Rodney put up 20 against Eastview as well.
Shane McSparron - Shane had a breakout performance Sunday scoring 15 points in the title game versus Hopkins. Eastview was down about 15 points early and if it wasn't for McSparron hitting mid-range jumpers of both the spot-up and pull-up variety, as well as penetrating for scores, the Lightning may not have hit double digits until the second half. Facing a quality Hopkins defense McSparron was a cool customer sinking shots.
Jacob Peterson - Peterson was a pleasant surprise for Hopkins on Sunday. The 6-foot-9 senior-to-be has made some of the best low post improvements over a 12 month period that Minnesota Preps has seen in five years. Peterson looks as if he's shifted weight around for the positive as he's moving much better up and down the floor plus his low post footwork looks drastically improved. Peterson also showed an eye-opening touch after turning his shoulder and Jacob hit some jumpers around the elbow.
Riley West - Riley ran an outstanding halfcourt offense for Lakeville South Saturday as the Cougars efficiently picked St. Cloud Apollo's defense apart. In the second half West was nearly perfect with his decision making (he took a couple tough shots) moving the ball to the right spots, pacing the offense to grind the Apollo defenders while working the clock, and attacking open lanes to create shots for teammates.
Dalton Huisman - Ellsworth picked up wins over BBE and Braham this weekend and it was Huisman's three point stroke that opened the floor. Huisman nailed a minimum of three triples in all four games and he did it with range that was hard for defenses to close on.
Alex Richter showed off a three-point stroke making a triple or two in just about every game he played. With Richter adding shooting range to his ability college programs will take harder looks and opposing Lake Conference coaches will be sweating harder in preparation for Lakeville South...Blake Maslonkowski had a monster offensive game for Apollo in a loss to Minnesota Transitions Sunday morning. His point total has been debated (somewhere between 27 and 40 points) but his production won't be...Eastern Kentucky offered Seth Hinrichs of MACCRAY and Eric Robertson of Wayzata last night...Shelby Moats wasn't with Waconia this weekend at the Sweet 16 but he was in the news as Shelby picked up offers from Iowa and Bowling Green plus Butler re-confirmed their offer with Wildcat coach Pat Hayes...Is it to early to mention that former Gopher great Richard Coffey had a 7th grade son that saw a few minutes with Hopkins Sunday afternoon? Yes, it's to early for anything more than a blurb, but remember this for the future...A day after scoring 46 points against Braham, Ellsworth's Casey Schilling put up 21 points (8 of 17 shooting with 3 of 4 from free throw line) including two three-pointers plus grabbed 11 rebounds for a double-double against MTS...
Hopkins 94 Apple Valley 86
Eastview 56 Lakeville South 53
Minnesota Transitions 70 St. Cloud Apollo 61
Waterville-Elysian-Morristown 57 Sebeka 48
Ellsworth 65 BBE 57
Orono 72 Windom 61
Benidle-St. Margaret's 66 Plainview/Elgin-Millville 56
Braham 75 Waconia 72
Hopkins 69 Eastview 50
Apple Valley 84 Lakeville South 77
BSM 78 Orono 61
Windom 64 PEM 53
Waconia 91 Sebeka 83
WEM 74 Braham 56
Apollo 86 BBE 51
MTS 82 Ellsworth 63
Apple Valley 3-1
Benilde-St. Margaret's 3-1
Minnesota Transitions 3-1
Lakeville South 2-2
St. Cloud Apollo 2-2