Boys basketball fans packed the St. Louis Park High School gym Tuesday night for their chance to see one of Minnesota's top scoring juniors, Rashad Vaughn and had a glorious game, scoring 24 points to lead the Cooper Hawks to a 77-71 win over the St. Louis Park Orioles.
Vaughn got the game's first basket for the Hawks, scoring on a lob pass from Lavar McCullough. DJ Pollard evened the score for the Orioles. McCullough scored five straight points, putting Cooper on a 7-0 run before Marshall Cullen's layup ended the run for St. Louis Park.
Billy Kellogg contributed in a big way for the Hawks, hitting shots from Highway 169 and showing outstanding speed. He drove the ball up the court, cut through the Oriole defense and scored. Cooper was up by 15 and St. Louis Park made a run which included Kashif Hayes' three pointer that cut the lead to nine. They would cut the lead to six to give the Hawks a 41-35 halftime lead.
In the second half, Cooper opened the scoring on a 5-0 run and it was Kellogg who put more in the Hawks fans evening with three more three pointers.
But Vaughn got into foul trouble in the second half, picking up his fourth foul with 5:12 left. He would return to the game. The Orioles would try to fly back into the game as Jeffrey Bonds cut the lead to seven and Pollard redeemed himself after a basket he made was disallowed due to traveling.
St. Louis Park would attempt to cut the lead to five but after three long range shots, none of them went in the net. Vaughn would clinch the game, hitting a pair of free throws with :42 left.
Vaughn was interviewed after the game on how he has handled the pressure of being highly recruited. "I don't let the pressure get to me."
Steve Burton, Cooper's first year coach described what it was like coaching a player like Vaughn.
"It's really fun, challenging sometimes. He's a joy to be coaching but I am also learning from him as well as his teammates. "
He also mentioned about Vaughn and his fellow top junior players Tyus Jones of Apple Valley and Reid Travis of DeLaSalle. He said that all three are fans of each other.