Brett Ervin leads #2 Eden Prairie
The Class AAAA boy's basketball tournament starts Wednesday at the Target Center. Defending champion Hopkins returns as the Royals hope to win their fourth title in six years. St. Cloud Tech and Henry Sibley are also making back to the state tournament for the third straight year. GoldenSports.Net will cover all the action this week. The following is a look at the Class AAAA matchups.
10:00 #1 Hopkins (27-2) vs. Forest Lake (24-5)
Hopkins has won 20 straight games after losing back-to-back contests against St. Paul Johnson in the Best Buy Augsburg Classic and to Minneapolis North. The Royals won the Class AAAA state title last year as they finished 31-0. Hopkins, which also won the 2005 and 2006 titles, replaced their entire starting lineup this season. Joe Coleman, whose brother Dan played at Minnesota, scored a season-best 43 points in the season opening win over Minneapolis Henry and is averaging 24.8 points per game. He scored in double figures in all 29 games and had 20 or more points 22 times. Coleman was named GoldenSports.Net first team All-Metro. Junior Marvin Singleton is a strong inside player, who is averaging 18.4 points and was a GoldenSports.Net second team All-Metro choice. Versatile senior D.J. Peterson is the third double figure scorer with 11.3 points per game and was GoldenSports.Net sixth team All-Metro. Sophomore point guard Siyani Chambers is an excellent floor general who has made strides as an outside shooter. He is averaging 7.7 points per game. Ninth grader Riley Dearring (8.2 points) and sophomore Zach Stahl (7.1) are emerging talents for the Royals. This year’s Hopkins team is not a deep as the 2008-09 edition, but they seemed poised to try for a second straight state title.
Forest Lake defeated Duluth East 71-64 in the section finals after losing to the Greyhounds twice in the regular season. They trailed 35-24 at halftime before rallying in the second half. The Rangers started the season 5-3, but won 19 of their last 21 games. They are veteran team with seven seniors among their top eight scorers. The Rangers are led by Zach Riedemann, who averaged 23.4 points per game and was named GoldenSports.Net fifth team All-Metro. He scored in double figures in all 29 games and had six games of 30 or more points. Doug Sewall, a 6-foot-4 senior averaged 12.2 points per game. Phil Hegseth, a 5-10 junior guard, adds 10.2 points and 6-foot-3 senior Sam Miler, chips in with 9.7 points per contest.
12:00 #4 Henry Sibley (23-6) vs. Eastview (18-11)
Henry Sibley bounced back from a 5-6 start to win their final 18 games of the season. The Warriors defeated Cretin Derham Hall 55-53 in the section finals as Jordan Jackson scored a season-best 31 points. They are an experienced team with four seniors among their top five scorers. They are led by Mike Rostampou, a 6-foot-7 forward who recently picked up a scholarship offer from The Citdel. He averaged 17.0 points per game and was named GoldenSports.Net sixth team All-Metro. Rostampour scored in double figures in 27 of his 29 games. Jackson scored in double figures in 25 of 29 games and averaged 16.0 points per game. Jake Kreuser, a 7-foot center who will play at Lafayette, is averaging 11.1 points. Donte Grant, a sophomore, adds 9.9 points and Jimmy Ryan, a good outside threat, chips in with 7.9 points per contest.
Eastview started the season 7-10, but have won eleven of its last twelve games after sophomore Joey King became eligible after transferring from Eagan. The Lightning advanced to the state tournament with a 51-47 win over Lakeville South. They are led by King, who averaged 15.2 points per game. Defensive standout Vinard Birch, who signed with Division II Southwest Minnesota State, is adding 12.5 points per game. Frank Veldman, who was named Kare-11 All-Metro as a punter and finished in the top five in the state’s long jump, high jump and triple jump, is contributing 10.0 points, but he averaged 14.3 points over the last six games.
2:00 #2 Eden Prairie (25-3) vs. Owatonna (21-7)
Eden Prairie started the season 17-0 and were ranked #1 in the state before losing three of four games. The Eagles bounced back to win their final seven contests. They are led by Brett Ervin, a 6-foot-6 senior who was named GoldenSports.Net fifth team All-Metro. He averaged 16,4 points per game and scored in double figures in 25 of 28 games. Junior Grant Soderberg is adding 12.5 points per contest.
Owatonna started the season 7-5 before winning 14 of their last 16 games. The Huskies advanced to the state tournament by defeating Hastings 55-51 in the section 1 finals. They had lost in the finals the three previous seasons. They are led by junior Vaughn Thada, who scored 20 points in the section finals. He and fellow junior Tyler Supalla were both named All-Big Nine Conference.
4:00 #3 Champlin Park (24-5) vs. St. Cloud Tech (25-4)
Champlin Park started the season 7-4 before winning 17 of their last 18 games. The Rebels won 14 straight contest before losing their regular season finale to Andover 77-73. They are veteran team with their top eight scorers all being seniors. They have four double figure scorers, led by Kyle Zimmermann with 13.4 points per game. He is joined on the scoring side by Brandon Davis ((12.8), Josh Pella (12.8), Jaspaer Duberry (11.8) and Dillon Hager (8.1).
St. Cloud Tech started the season 10-0 and were ranked #1 in the state after Hopkins lost two straight games. However, the Tigers lost three of their next five games. They rebounded to win their last nine games and 15 of their final 16 contests. The Tigers defeated Buffalo 52-45 in the section finals after losing to them 55-52 in the regular season. They had to replace Nate Wolters, who averaged 10.1 points per game for South Dakota State and eight of their top ten scorers from a team that finished third in last year’s Class AAAA Tournament. They also to replace head coach Randy Jordan, last year’s Class 4A Coach of the Year. He left to coach Stillwater. The Tigers are led by senior Alex Hanks, who is headed to Mankato State and is averaging 19.3 points per game. Scott Nystrom, a 6-foot-2 senior who transferred from Kimball, is adding 18.8 points.