Top-ranked Hopkins pushed to limit

  • Article by: DAVID LA VAQUE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 21, 2012 - 9:43 PM

The three-time defending state champion finally put away Woodbury in overtime and will next face Osseo.

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"Survival."

The first word uttered by Hopkins boys' basketball coach Ken Novak Jr. after his team outlasted Woodbury for an 82-75 overtime victory said a lot.

No. 1-ranked Hopkins, winners of the past three Class 4A state tournament titles, got 25 points from senior guard Siyani Chambers in Wednesday's state quarterfinal victory at Target Center.

Chambers, a Star Tribune first-team All-Metro selection, scored 22 of his points from the free-throw line. Conversely, Woodbury shot 50 percent as a team, missing the front ends of one-and-ones twice with about one minute remaining in regulation.

"Every game we've lost except for maybe one has been because of [missed free throws]," Woodbury coach Scott Swansson said. "I don't know if it got to be a head thing or what."

Chambers kept his head clear despite missing a jump shot that would have won the game in regulation. He acknowledged making a "mental error" when he did not drive to the basket.

All was forgiven as Chambers went a perfect 10-for-10 on his free-throw attempts in overtime.

"We've got Siyani and he's our leader," said senior guard Demetrius Martin, who led Hopkins with 17 first-half points. "He brought us all together and let us know we're still in this and not to give up."

Osseo 62, Duluth East 51

Facing a four-point halftime deficit against Duluth East, Osseo players talked in the locker room about making changes on the floor and between the ears.

The No. 4 seed Orioles (28-2) responded with a game-changing run in the second half.

"I can't tell you a key or specific thing we did, we just played better," Osseo senior guard DJ Hebert said. "We had nothing to hold back. I just told the guys that they aren't better than us."

Hebert said his team got caught "looking for somebody else to make a play" throughout a tentative first half. Trailing 27-23 at halftime, Osseo reeled off a 19-6 run and built a secure 10-point lead.

It was a team effort. Hebert scored eight of his game-high 18 points, with Michael Brush (five points), Will Johnson (four points) and Bridgeport Tusler (two points) each chipping in. Tusler and sophomore center Ian Theisen each finished with 11 points.

Osseo got tougher inside, allowing the Greyhounds only three of their 13 offensive rebounds in the second half. And the Orioles bench added nine points to finish with an 11-3 advantage over the East reserves.

Taylor Stafford scored 17 points to lead the Greyhounds (20-9). Shaq Coleman and Johnny Woodard each added 12 points.

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