The Pacesetter Sweet Sixteen Final Four Set

Rodney Williams leads Cooper to Pacesetter semis

The Pacesetter Sweet Sixteen final four will face off tomorrow at 10:30 at St. Ben's. Class AAAA teams Hopkins, Robbinsdale Cooper and Henry Sibley and Class AAA St. Paul Johnson will meet in the semifinals tomorrow. All four 2008 state champs played in the 2007 Sweet 16 (Minnetonka (AAAA), Benilde-St. Margaret's (AAA), New London-Spicer (AA) and Ellsworth (A)).

St. Paul Johnson, which finished 21-7 defeated Fairbault Bethlehem Academy 85-49 and Class AAAA third place finisher St. Cloud Tech 90-82. The Governors are led by seniors Dion Suggs and Mike Talley, junior Max Rosenbloom and sophomore Estan Tyler.

Cooper is led by Rodney Williams Jr., who is one of the best athletes in the country. Williams averaged 21.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.1 blocked shots and 2.4 assists per game. The Hawks return five of their top six scorers, including double figure scorers Joe Bright (14.8 points per game) and Quincey Bethea (10.3). Point guard Freddie Burton shot lights out as the Hawks were clicking on all cylinders in the first round win, impressing observers with their ability to work the ball. They defeated Minnesota Transitions 102-73 and bested Mankato West 78-72. Minnesota Transitions was without standout junior Kevin Noreen, who was sidelined with a grade 3 sprained ankle.

Mankato West featured brothers Aaron and Mike Richter, who attended the Minnesota Gopher football camp in June and intriguing freshman point guard Phillip Nelson

Hopkins was without Mike Broghammer and Marcus Williams, who are traveling with the Howard Pulley AAU team in Belgium. D.J. Peterson was at a church camp and Moses Sundufu not with the team. Despite the player losses, the Royals rolled to 88-48 win over Norman County East and 95-66 victory over Sibley East and their standout junior big man Marshall Bjorklund.

Hopkins was paced by Minnesota commit Royce White, who shown off a shaved head and an ever-improving offensive game. Raymond Cowels, who committed to Santa Clara Friday, demonstrated his three-point shot and Trent Lockett, who has committed to Arizona State, showed off his slashing drives to the hoop. Sophomore Marvin Singleton may only be the eighth man on a deep Hopkins' roster, but he has already attracted high Division I interest. Riley Dearing is playing with the team this weekend. He is only an eighth grader, but some Hopkins insiders feel that he could be the best player in school history, which is impressive considering that Kris Humphries, Dan Coleman and Blake Hoffarber are among the school alumni. Sophomore Joe Coleman, younger brother of Dan, showed signs on being a top prospect. Trent Lockett may not make the Sunday action, due to prior commitment.

They will face Henry Sibley in a battle of two of the top teams in the state. The Warriors, who finished runner-up in Class AAAA, losing to Minnetonka 68-59 in the title game, defeated Grand Rapids 70-44 and Pierz 80-48. Mike Bruesewitz, who committed to Wisconsin, showed off his versatile game and athletic forward Chris Halvorsen, who has 14 scholarship offers, shined in the open court. Maurice Hernandez, who has attracted interest from Drake and Eastern Kentucky, demonstrated his outside prowess and Jake Kreuser, a 6-foot-11 junior center, played perhaps his best basketball as he showed a more aggressive all-around game.

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