Defending AAA girls hoops champ Cooper beats Austin in Quarterfinal

March 13, 2019 11:32 PM

The Class AAA defending champion and second-seeded Robbinsdale Cooper (21-8) will continue its quest for a second straight state title with a 72-40 win over Austin (20-9) on Wednesday afternoon in the state quarterfinals at Maturi Pavilion on the campus of the University of Minnesota.

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The Hawks, who are in just their second state tournament, will play the #3 Becker vs. Marshall winner in the state semifinals on Thursday, March 14 at 2 p.m. at Williams Arena while the Packers head to the consolation semifinals on Thursday at 4 p.m. against the loser of that matchup at Gangelhoff Center on the campus of Concordia University, St. Paul.

Cooper led from start-to-finish although Austin kept the margin within single digits throughout much of the first half, trailing by just four (17-13) with under eight minutes to go. But Cooper was able to close the half on an 11-3 scoring spurt to claim a 16-point lead at the break, their largest of the half.

The 11-3 run was just the start of a larger stretch that saw the Hawks go from up by eight (29-21) with under three minutes to play in the first half to a 28-point lead (57-29) with under thirteen and a half minutes to go in the game – a 28-8 scoring stretch spanning under five minutes of game clock.

Robbinsdale Cooper would lead by as many as 37 in the game.

Senior guard Aja Wheeler scored a game-high 22 points for Cooper on strong 10-of-13 shooting with seven rebounds, five assists and four steals. Sophomore forward Kierra Wheeler had the game’s lone double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds, also dishing four assists with four blocks and three steals.

The Hawks totaled 15 steals, forced 21 turnovers while committing nine and had a 26-7 advantage in points off turnovers.

The Packers were led by senior forward Abby Lewis with 15 points including 3-of-4 from three-point range.

Courtesy: Minnesota State High School League

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Chris Long

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