Hopkins High’s girls basketball team faced a crisis for the first time this season when the Royals trailed Wayzata 41-29 at halftime of the Section 6 Tournament title game March 9 at Minneapolis Roosevelt High.
The Trojans had not trailed at the half this season, let alone by 12 points, so it was do-or-die time for coach Brian Cosgriff’s No. 1-ranked Royals, who came into the contest with a season record of 28-0..
“Wayzata shot really well the first half, six-for-11 behind the three-point arc,” said Cosgriff. “And they made 11 of 13 from the line. They just came out hot.”
Hot or not, Hopkins proved to be too much for the Trojans in the second half. The Royals scored 52 points in the final 18 minutes to win the game 81-74.
Cosgriff praised the effort of both teams.
“In our two previous games against Wayzata, we had shot the ball really well,” he said. “But this time Wayzata turned the tables on us. They made us work for everything.”
So what was the difference in the second half?
“In the first half, we didn’t get our transition game going, but in the second half we were able to run,” said Cosgriff.
It also helped that the Royals did a better job of guarding Sydney Franks in the second half. Franks was red-hot in the first half with 17 points, but managed only five points after the intermission.
Hopkins hit Wayzata with its 1-2 backcourt scoring punch. Ninth-grade guard Paige Bueckers warmed up in the second half to finish with 27 points, while junior guard Raena Suggs pumped in 22 points. Junior forward Angie Hammond and sophomore guard Dlayla Chakolis each scored 14 for Hopkins.
“Paige and Raena make everyone around them better,” said Cosgriff, who also mentioned senior point guard Dee Dee Winston for her leadership.
In addition to Franks’ 22 points, Wayzata had 20 from sophomore forward Kallie Theisen and 16 from senior center Camryn Hay.
With the win, the Royals kept their prayer for the perfect season alive. Wayzata, a top-10 team in the state rankings all season, finished with a 22-7 mark.
The Royals opened play in the Class AAAA state tournament against Minnetonka at Target Center on Tuesday. Semifinals are 6 p.m. Thursday with finals at 8 p.m. Saturday. Both games at Williams Arena.
Contact John Sherman at [email protected]