Royal girls soar with 23-1 mark
Edina High girls basketball coach Matt Nilsen has lot in common with most of his peers.
He has been trying to figure out how to beat Hopkins, and so far, he has come up empty.
Nilsen’s Hornets played the Royals in a Lake Conference game Feb. 12. It was supposed to be a battle for first place, but it was more like a wrecking ball crashing against a building.
Hopkins rolled to a 46-17 halftime lead on the way to an easy 79-46 victory.
“At one point in the first half, I turned to [assistant coach] Jaime Gaard and asked her, ‘Got any suggestions?’ said Nilsen. “She said, ‘Why don’t you take a timeout?’”
He did, and it didn’t help.
Nia Coffey, Hopkins’ All-State senior guard, scored 22 points in the first half and finished with 28. Mikaala Shackelford added 15 points and Erin O’Toole scored 11.
Point guard Taylor Anderson directed the attack and scored nine points.
The Royals (23-1 and 7-0 in the Lake) are firing on all cylinders lately. Their only blemish was a loss to Centennial in non-conference play.
“We’re trying to do the things we need to do to win this time of year,” said Hopkins head coach Brian Cosgriff. “We have to take smarter shots, make a higher percentage and take care of the basketball. We also need to rebound the basketball. There is another week of practice before the section tournament, so we will have the opportunity to work on those things.”
In addition to beating Edina last week, the Royals rolled past Wayzata 72-49 in conference play.
“Wayzata is a tough place to play, and they play so hard,” said Cosgriff. “They didn’t back down for anything. Summer Johnson is absolutely fearless.”
The Royals did a good job of defending Johnson, but senior guard Delane Swanson led the Trojans with 15 points. Erin O’Toole led Hopkins with 14 points while Shackelford had 13 and Coffey had 11. Anderson also reached double figures with 10 points.
Hopkins stepped outside the Lake Conference Feb. 16 and beat St. Michael-Albertville 79-50.
O’Toole had a big game, scoring 19 points. Anderson added 16 and Coffey netted 14.
“St. Michael-Albertville played really hard,” said Cosgriff. “And they shoot the ball pretty well. Erin [O’Toole] was very effective, but did get in some foul trouble.”
Next for the Royals is a 7 p.m. non-conference game with Andover Friday, Feb. 22, at Andover High School.
Contact John Sherman at email@example.com