Novak views Lake boys hoops picture
Among the spectators at the Minnetonka-Edina boys basketball game Friday, Feb. 1, at Minnetonka’s West Gym were Hopkins head coach Kenny Novak Jr. and his dad, Kenny Sr.
The Novaks saw a shootout as the visiting Hornets prevailed 81-73 behind 41 points from 6-foot senior guard Graham Woodward.
One fan sitting a few rows in front of the Novaks – obviously from Minnetonka – muttered, “We knew what Woodward was going to do, and we still couldn’t stop him.”
Kenny Novak Jr. saw things pretty much the same way.
“They tried everything against him,” he said. “They double-teamed him, but he got rid of the ball and Edina was playing four on three. Edina looked awfully good.”
Novak’s team will play Minnetonka in a Lake Conference match-up at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, at Minnetonka’s West Gym.
“I don’t know if we can play with either of these teams [Edina or Minnetonka],” said Novak.
Royals are 2-0
Hopkins is 2-0 in Lake boys basketball after winning two close games last week.
Novak’s boys beat Wayzata 79-61 Jan. 29 and Eden Prairie 65-64 Jan. 31.
“In the Wayzata game, we were up one with three minutes to go,” said Novak. “Then Wayzata missed some shots and we made our free throws.”
Five Hopkins players scored in double figures. Kamali Chambers led the way with 14 points and was followed by Stephon Sharp with 13, Jacob Wright with 12 and Amir Coffey and Phil Stribling with 10 apiece.
Hopkins caught Eden Prairie at the right time. The Eagles’ All-State point guard, Grant Shaeffer, was sick and barely played.
“Eden Prairie is always a tough game for us,” said Novak. “They beat us badly on the boards, and their starting center didn’t even play.”
Wright hit a clutch three-pointer late in the game to help the Royals win. His range and accuracy are noted on every opponent’s scouting report, but stopping him is another matter.
Eden Prairie had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds, but a three-point attempt by Andre Wallace banged off the rim. Caleb Wragge’s rebound basket at the buzzer accounted for the final one-point margin.
Chambers again led Hopkins’ attack with 16 points. Wright added 15 while Nick Johnson and Sharp each scored 10.
As the Lake boys season plays out, I don’t see any team going undefeated in the double round robin. Hopkins could do it, but it’s going to be a grind every night.
I was expecting a close game when the Hopkins High girls basketball team played Wayzata Jan. 29, but in the Lake Conference anything can happen.
Hopkins really clamped down on defense and the result was a 63-28 Royal victory.
Nia Coffey proved why she’s the leading candidate for the Miss Basketball of Minnesota Award. She dominated at both ends of the floor and led the Royals with 19 points.
Through the first half of the conference schedule, Hopkins is 4-0. Its closest game was a 60-46 decision over Minnetonka. Eden Prairie, Edina and Wayzata just couldn’t get started against the Royals.
Look for some closer games the second time through, but don’t expect Hopkins to stumble. Despite a rash of injuries that included the loss of Viria Livingston for the season, the Royals are by far the deepest and most talented team in the Lake.
Minnetonka might have the best shot at knocking off Hopkins because the Skippers’ senior point guard, Joanna Hedstrom, is capable of controlling a game the same way Coffey can.
“Joanna makes everyone around her better and she has NBA range on her three-pointer,” said Hopkins head coach Brian Cosgriff.
Minnetonka High’s girls hockey team repeated as the Lake Conference champ by beating Eden Prairie 3-0 Jan. 29 at EP Community Center.
Laura Bowman, Minnetonka’s senior captain, took ownership of the game, scoring all three goals.
“We play in such a great conference, and that always makes for an exciting January,” said Minnetonka head coach Eric Johnson. “Laura’s hat trick was obviously a shot in the arm. She creates offense every time she’s on the ice.”
While the win over Eden Prairie clinched the conference title, Johnson said a 4-0 victory over Edina the week before was just as big.
“In the eight years I’ve been here, we had never won at Braemar Arena until this year,” said Johnson. “We had tied them over there three of the previous four years.”
Taylor Anderson, a senior at Hopkins High, has signed a national letter of intent to run track at the University of Connecticut.
This is a well-deserved scholarship for Anderson, who also starts at point guard for the Hopkins High girls basketball team.
She won the state 100-meter dash title last spring and also anchored the Royals’ 4×100-meter relay to victory. Her time of 11.71 seconds in the 100-meter dash is an all-time state record.