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Park Center blows out Edina, reaches first state championship game

In Wednesday’s quarterfinals, Park Center built up a 19-point first half lead over Lakeville North only to see the Panthers make a furious comeback to force overtime. Although Park Center won that game on a last-second tip-in, the Panthers comeback was certainly on everyone’s minds when Park Center took a 37-22 lead into the halftime locker room against Edina.

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Quinton Hooker made sure there would be no comeback this time.

Hooker played an outstanding game, scoring 14 points, dishing out seven assists and grabbing eight rebounds as the Pirates blasted Edina 66-44 in the semifinals of the Class 4A state basketball tournament. In addition to the stats in the scorebook, he single-handedly fouled out Edina’s 6’9” Reggie Lynch on two savvy basketball plays in the second half, taking the Hornets’ big man out of the game after just 17 minutes on the court.

Isaiah McKay had a big first half for the Pirates, scoring 14 points and hitting two three-point shots in the half as Park Center took control of the game early and never let Edina back in. McKay scored 12 straight points for the Pirates during a five-minute stretch in the first half where they turned a 19-16 lead into a 35-20 edge, and Park Center continued to push the lead throughout the second half. Treyton Daniels and Joshua Matthews capped the game for the Pirates with back-to-back dunks, sending their fans into delirium as the Pirates closed out a 22-point win.

Edina, the champions of the Lake Conference, had an ice-cold night shooting, making just 13 of 57 shots from the field and only 3 of 18 from beyond the three-point line. Graham Woodward, who poured in 40 points in their quarterfinal victory over Andover, had 17 points on 5-of-19 shooting; Reggie Lynch had 9 in his limited minutes. Park Center had four players in double figures including Devin Buckley, who had a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Park Center, now 28-3 on the season, advances to the Class 4A championship game against Apple Valley on Saturday night at the Target Center- the Pirates are responsible for Apple Valley’s one loss on the season, a two-point game back in the Breakdown Tip-Off Classic in December. Edina, now 23-8 this year, will play Eden Prairie in the third place game on Saturday

Approximate tip time of the championship game is 8pm.

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