Hooker takes out birthday celebration on Champlin Park

Park Center senior Quinton Hooker celebrated his 18th birthday by nearly posting a triple-double in a 98-61 win at Champlin Park Jan. 22. (Sun Post staff photo by Nick Clark)

Park Center senior Quinton Hooker celebrated his 18th birthday by nearly posting a triple-double in a 98-61 win at Champlin Park Jan. 22. (Sun Post staff photo by Nick Clark)

Park Center senior Quinton Hooker celebrated his 18th birthday Jan. 22, and like most kids age, his birthday wish was for something with a set of wheels attached to it.

“A car,” quipped his father. “Can you believe that? He asked for a car.”

“Why not,” said Hooker a couple hours later, “I was hoping for it.”

It’s safe to assume the one he’s driving now works just fine. Actually, he well-oiled machine Hooker is currently piloting has the look of a Ferrari.

The driving force behind the top-ranked Pirates 15-1 start to the boys basketball season, Hooker had Park Center’s pistons firing on all cylinders this past week.

He scored 22 points and nearly finished with a triple-double as he capped his birthday by helping the Pirates cruise to 98-61 victory at Champlin park Jan. 22, then added 23 more in Park Center’s 73-69 home victory over Maple Grove Jan. 25.

Hooker’s teammates did their part as well. Devin Buckley (19 points), Treyton Daniels (14), Jake Tanner (12) and Joshua Matthews (10) each finished in double-figures in the win at Champlin Park.

Buckley matched Hooker’s total against Maple Grove with 23 points, and Isaiah McKay added a dozen.

But in each case, it was Hooker directing traffic in what was a quintessential week for the player his coach says should be a the front-runner for Mr. Basketball.

“He our guy,” said Park Center head coach Broderick Powell. “He leads. He scores. He rebounds. He does everything that we ask him to do. My hope is that everybody sees this, because he is Mr. Basketball. I know I have a biased opinion because he plays for us, but he is, pound-for-pound, right now, the best player in the state.”

He’s also playing for what has been the best team to in Minnesota thus far. Park Center has been ranked No. 1 for nearly two full months. The Pirates are responsible for second-ranked Apple-Valley’s only blemish thus far, and they are one of just two teams to best No. 4 Osseo.

Last week, they got Champlin Park – which entered the game with a 10-3 record – and won by nearly 40 points. Three days later, in a closely contested home game against Maple Grove, the Pirates persevered to sweep the season series from the Crimson.

“We can win in a bunch of different ways,” said Hooker. “We lost to DeLaSalle, and that made us refocus. We got back in the gym and started working harder, and that has obviously carried over into the games.”

There are plenty of those left to play, starting this week with games at Robbisndale Armstrong Jan. 29 and at home against Centennial at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31.

“We’re not done yet,” said Powell. “We have a lot of work ahead of us. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished so far, but we want to win a state championship.”

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