Sunday, April 4, 2010

Boys High School Wrap

St. Paul Johnson is the Best of the Best in 2010

As it turns out, the mythical 2010 state championship ("the best of the best") was decided not in March 2010 but in December 2009, when the Governors of St. Paul Johnson defeated the perennially powerful Hopkins Royals 86-78 in the finals of the Best Buy Holiday Classic. It was a fast-paced, entertaining, hard-fought win the the Governors and coach Vern Simmons.

Hopkins led only twice, once at 8-6. From there Johnson went on a 13-4 run that they then extended to 20-10 for a 26-18 lead at 8:30 of the 1st half. The Royals fought back to tie it up at 29, then took only their second lead of the night at 44-42. The Governors responded again with a 16-3 run for a 58-47 lead at 12:05. Still Hopkins would not go away and fought back to within 1 at 64-63 and 66-65. But they never quite caught up, and Johnson made 9-of-13 FT down the stretch to ice the win.

People say that Johnson is small with 2 6-5 guys. And of the 6 guys who scored in double figures tonight, 5 are listed as guards. Still, Johnson gave up nothing in the paint, and what little they gave they more than made up for with their quickness, scrappiness and fearlessness. What they demonstrate, most of all, is that in the modern game of basketball, short guys can pound the boards a lot better than big guys can get out and run and handle the ball against an aggressive defensive scheme.

Junior guard Estan Tyler led the Governors against Hopkins with 20 points, and he was named MVP of the Best Buy tournament. Three months later he was named to the Strib's all-metro team as well as most all-state teams. Forward Maxie Rosenbloom, one of those short 6-5 guys, was named metro player of the year by the Pioneer Press.

State Tournament Time

By the end of March, however, it wasn't obvious that Hopkins wasn't playing a little bit better ball than the Governors. What's most surprising is that both had close calls along the way to their 4A and 3A state championships, respectively.

The Royals needed 2OT and all 5 Henry Sibley starters to foul out to emerge with a heart-stopping 90-82 win in the semi-finals. The final was more of a formality, however, as Hopkins won going away 76-56 against unseeded St. Cloud Tech. Joe Coleman, Marvin Singleton and D.J. Peterson made the all-tournament team, though Peterson will be remembered more for directing the universal hand signal for "jerking off" at the Sibley adult section after the semi.

Johnson demolished Hutchinson and Winona 80-37 and 80-55, respectively, though it's true that Winona had a 1-point lead as late as 11:59 of the 2nd half. Then, like Hopkins, the Governors came up against an unexpected, unseeded opponent in the final, in this case the Grand Rapids Thunderhawks. And the Thunderhawks pushed the Govs right to the end, leading as late as 39-38 at 13:13, and trailing 56-55 at 0:49 before losing 59-55. Tyler, Rosenbloom and Roosevelt Scott won all-tournament honors for Johnson.

Sibley's Jordan Jackson and Johnson's Estan Tyler were the 2 tournament MVPs as chosen by Minnesota Hoops.

In Class AA, New London-Spicer and Crosby-Ironton played for the state title for the 2nd time in 3 years, with the Wildcats emerging victorious both times. This time it was 62-52 as NLS took an early 14-4 lead, led 34-22 at the half and never trailed. Mark Hoge scored 27 for the Rangers, and was the Class AA MVP, and Jayme Moten scored 19 for NLS.

In Class A, Kevin Noreen closed out a remarkable career with more than 4,000 points and a state title as Minnesota Transitions Charter beat Sebeka in the final 61-52. Things looked bad for the Wolves early on, as Noreen fell hard to the floor and played in obvious pain--it was learned afterward that he had ruptured his spleen. Sebeka ran out to a 13-4 lead, and led by 2 at the half. But MTC shot 64 percent in the 2nd half to Sebeka's 33 percent, and Noreen had 24 points, 15 boards and 9 blocks for MTC to easily win Class A MVP honors.

Minnesota Hoops All-Tournament Team

Marshall Bjorklund, Sibley East
Alec Brown, Winona
Mark Hoge, Crosby-Ironton, Class AA MVP
Jordan Jackson, Henry Sibley, Class AAAA MVP
Estan Tyler, St. Paul Johnson, Class AAA overall tournament MVP
6th: Kevin Noreen, Minnesota Transitions, Class A MVP

2nd Team

Mark Blacklock, Winona
Jalen Jaspers, DeLaSalle
Casey Shilling, Ellsworth
Marvin Singleton, Hopkins
Eric Stark, Grand Rapids
6th: Tyler Vaughan, Braham

3rd Team

Joe Coleman, Hopkins
Joey Cuperus, Sebeka
Alex Hanks, St. Cloud Tech
Scott Nystrom, St. Cloud Tech
Cole Olstad, Plainview-EM
6th: Jordan Smith, Orono

Consensus All-State Team

Marshall Bjorklund, Sibley East, AP Player of the Year
Kevin Noreen, Minnesota Transitions, Mr. Basketball, Minnesota Hoops PoY
Alec Brown, Winona
Jacob Thomas, Columbia Heights
Estan Tyler, St. Paul Johnson

2nd Team

Joe Coleman, Hopkins
Trevor Gruis, Ellsworth
Jordan Jackson, Henry Sibley
Marvin Singleton, Hopkins
Dyami Starks, Duluth East

3rd Team

Chad Calcaterra, Cloquet
Alex Hanks, St. Cloud Tech
Mark Hoge, Crosby-Ironton
Cole Olstad, Plainview-EM
Zach Riedeman, Forest Lake

Coach of the Year

1. Vern Simmons, St. Paul Johnson
2. Dan Elhard, Grand Rapids
3. Matt Cordes, New London-Spicer
4. Mike Trewick, St. Cloud Tech
5. Tim Dasovich, Henry Sibley

Final Top 50

1. St. Paul Johnson 32-0 AAA
2. Hopkins 30-2
3. Henry Sibley 25-7
4. Grand Rapids 29-3 AAA
5. St. Cloud Tech 27-5
6. Winona 29-2 AAA
7. Champlin Park 24-6
8. Eden Prairie 26-5
9. Cretin 23-6
10. Robbinsdale Cooper 25-4

11. DeLaSalle 25-6 AAA
12. Benilde 24-5 AAA
13. New London-Spicer 32-2 AA
14. Forest Lake 24-5
15. Orono 24-5 AAA
16. Duluth East 20-9
17. Osseo 22-6
18. Apple Valley 20-8
19. Plainview-EM 30-3 AA
20. Minnesota Transitions 30-3 A

21. Columbia Heights 22-7 AAA
22. Crosby-Ironton 30-3 AA
23. Stillwater 20-7
24. Little Falls 20-10 AAA
25. Sebeka 30-3 A
26. Ellsworth 27-6 A
27. Tartan 20-8
28. Staples-Motley 24-6 AA
29. Eastview 18-12
30. Minnehaha 26-5 AA

31. Sibley East 23-5 AA
32. MACCRAY 28-1 A
33. Lakeville South 20-9
34. Hutchinson 25-4 AAA
35. Mayer Lutheran 26-3 AA
36. Buffalo 21-7
37. Braham 28-5 AA
38. St. Paul Central 20-6 AAA
39. Morris 25-3 AA
40. Anoka 19-9

41. Shakopee 21-7
42. Waconia 22-4 AAA
43. Jordan 23-6 AA
44. Springfield 25-2 A
45. Lakeville North 18-10
46. White Bear Lake 17-10
47. Chaska 17-12
48. Mahtomedi 21-8 AAA
49. Willmar 19-10 AAA
50. New Prague 19-10 AAA


  1. Waconia beats SE by 20 yet Waconia is rated 42nd and SE 31st. Waconia beats Orono by 10 in the final regular season game andd wins the Wright County title outright ye tOrono is rated 15th? Go figure.

  2. I thought about Waconia ranking higher but in the post-season they came out about #5 in their section, and I couldn't get past that. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Let me clarify. I really did think about ranking Waconia higher. I was running through the post-season results and had 6AAA rated more or less accordingly. But when I got to Waconia at #42 with a 22-4 record, I thought that can't be right. But in the end I didn't change it. It is the one team I thought more about than any other, but that would of course happen when you have the huge discrepancy between the overall season record and the post-season record. But you caught me, you really did.