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Quinton Hooker kept Edina's Nick Boone busy (Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune photo)
The Pirates didn’t need to put any more exclamation points on their 66-44 semifinal victory over Edina, but their athleticism wouldn’t rest.
Senior point guard Quinton Hooker’s natural reaction to longtime teammate Treyton Daniels cutting to the basket is to throw it up. And Daniels throws it down. Target Center thanked the pair for the display of athleticism with a standing ovation. Before the fans could sit down, Joshua Matthews threw down a one-handed dunk to give Park Center (28-3) a 64-39 lead with 2:56 left.
Hooker’s smile and Edina’s Graham Woodward’s look of disbelief following the string of dunks summarized the semifinal from its tipoff.
“It was a big statement, just to show we’re not backing down from anybody,” Daniels said after his 12-point effort.
Hooker said it can’t get much better than that and was the “exclamation point” needed after just squeaking by Lake-ville North in overtime of the quarterfinals.
Park Center made sure to maintain control throughout both halves Thursday.
The Pirates’ built a 37-22 halftime lead and added to it in the second half. Isaiah McKay scored 14 of his 16 points in the first half and was one of four Park Center starters in double figures.
Hooker had 14 points, eight rebounds. Daniels had 12 points. Devin Buckley had a double-double with 13 points, 11 rebounds. Fifth man Joshua Matthews had nine points, seven rebounds.
“I think they underestimated us a little bit,” McKay said. “This puts a stamp on everything.”
Edina’s all-time leading scorer, Woodward, managed just 17 points after scoring 40 in the quarterfinals. Big man Reggie Lynch (nine points, four rebounds) played only 17 minutes, plagued by foul trouble.
Edina (23-8) coach Pat Dorsey described the Hornets’ fallout as a rolling snowball that never stopped growing.
The victory sets up a rematch of arguably one of the best early season matchups featuring Park Center and Apple Valley. Park Center won the game, 72-70, handing Apple Valley its only loss.
1. Quinton Hooker, Park Center
Hooker scored 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds. He was six for six at the free throw line. Hooker was all over the floor for Park Center adding seven assists and two steals.
2. Devin Buckley, Park Center
Buckley recorded the double-double for Park Center with 13 points and 11 rebounds. He had six assists and a huge block in the game. He finished the game with nine defensive boards.
3. Graham Woodward, Edina
The senior guard led all scorers with 17 points. He shot five of eight from the charity stripe. Woodward had a strong first half for the Hornets with 12 points.
-Rachel Stalley, MN Basketball Hub