4A: Hopkins, St. Paul Johnson win quarterfinals

  • Article by: JOEL RIPPEL , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 22, 2006 - 9:17 PM

Second-half adjustments helped the defending Class 4A champion Royals and the Governors win, setting up today's meeting.

Teams that do well in the postseason are the ones that can make quick adjustments.

Take Hopkins, for example. On Wednesday, the defending state champion weathered slowdown tactics by Lakeville North to win 49-32 in a Class 4A lower-bracket quarterfinal at Target Center.

In today's semifinals, the Royals will have to adjust to a contrasting style when they face St. Paul Johnson. The Governors defeated Andover 87-64 in an earlier quarterfinal.

"They're [St. Paul Johnson] the total opposite of what we saw today," Hopkins coach Ken Novak Jr. said. "They might be the most athletic team in the state."

A recap of Wednesday's quarterfinals:

St. Paul Johnson 87, Andover 64: Once the Governors regained their balance, they took control.

Johnson, which led by one at halftime after a three-pointer at the buzzer by Sammy Ricks, outscored the Huskies 44-22 in the second half.

The Governors (24-4) limited the Huskies (21-9) to 10 points over the final 10 minutes.

"They really had us off balance in the first half," Governors coach Vern Simmons said. "They were doing some things offensively that kept us off balance. But we played well in the second half."

Leading 57-54 midway through the second half, Ricks and the Governors took control.

Ricks started a 10-2 run with a free throw and a steal and dunk. Andover didn't get closer than nine points in the final five minutes.

Ricks, a 6-1 senior, finished with a game-high 26 points. Freddy Coleman contributed 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Governors.

Jerrel Enerson scored 23 points to lead the Huskies.

Hopkins 49, Lakeville North 32: The Panthers (10-20) limited the Royals (28-2) to a season-low 49 points, but the Royals used a 17-0 run in the second half to secure the victory.

After Lakeville North scored the first basket of the second half to pull within 19-18, the Royals went on a 17-0 run over the next 5 ½ minutes to open a 36-18 lead. The Panthers didn't get closer than 12 points over the final 10 minutes.

"This was a mentally tough game," Novak said. "We had to stay strong. When you have to play defense so long, it's tough. We had a nice run in the second half. We were able to make a couple of stops on defense."

Blake Hoffarber and Steven Duncan each scored 13 points to lead the Royals, who averaged 79 points per game during the regular season.

Ben Flavin scored 18 points to lead Lakeville North.

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