MINNETONKA 67 FOREST LAKE 64 Midway through the first half Saturday afternoon at the Breakdown Tip Off Classic, the Minnetonka Skippers were taking on water and looking like it was time to call for the lifeboats and sound the SOS.…
MINNETONKA 67 FOREST LAKE 64
Midway through the first half Saturday afternoon at the Breakdown Tip Off Classic, the Minnetonka Skippers were taking on water and looking like it was time to call for the lifeboats and sound the SOS. With two straight losses to open the season, and a deficit that was already over a dozen, things were not right with the good ship Minnetonka against the Rangers from Forest Lake. The second half was something altogether different.
When they returned to the court for more, Minnetonka looked like Minnetonka is supposed to look as one of the highest-rated 4A teams in the state. The Skippers battened down the hatches, played some hard-nosed defense, and went to work on the glass. It paid off, as Minnetonka overcame an 11-point halftime deficit to take the lead midway through the second half. Forest Lake, led on the inside by power forward Abigail Groeneweg and on the outside by point guard Lexie Hultman, made it a dog fight to the end. Hultman had a long three in the final seconds to close the game to two before a Katey Brattland free throw sealed the deal at 67-64. The Skippers were safely back in port and the Rangers were left wondering what had just happened.
Player of the Game
Zoe Hardwick – The big post from Minnetonka by way of Eden Prairie may be the most improved player in Minnesota this year. Her meteoric progress over the summer earned Hardwick a scholarship to D2 Northern State, and enabled Zoe to put a unique stamp on Saturday's game. The Skippers were facing a third straight defeat until Hardwick's hard-nosed defense and rebounding appeared to inspire others to do the same. Hardwick will be an important piece if Minnetonka is going to live up to its pre-season billing.
Minnetonka – Zoe Hardwick 16, Kayla Mershon 16, Megan Walker 15, Katey Brattland 9, Hannah Fransen 6, Blake Greer 3, Erin Shoemaker 2
Forest Lake – Lexie Hultman 20, Abby Leach 10, Maddy Rice 10, Abigail Groeneweg 9, Grace Van Bergen 8, Katherine Taylor 4, Lindsey Johnson 3
HOPKINS 84 CENTENNIAL 68
For all of its high-powered, premium octane offensive abilities, the truth is that Brian Cosgriff's Hopkins Royals win a ton because they defend well and they defend hard. Most of the time. Saturday at the Breakdown Tip Off Classic was not one of those times… until it really mattered. In the end, a little more D and a lot more O was enough to dispatch the Centennial Cougars by a score of 84-68 pushing the Royals' record to 2-0.
Of course, a 16-point win over a top 10 opponent would be a successful day's work for most teams. But midway through the second half the Cougars were within 9 and threatening. That's when all-everything point guard Paige Bueckers went to work, draining her only three-pointer of the game, followed by a buffet of pretty baskets and some timely feeds to Raena Suggs and others. Before you knew it, Hopkins was up 20 and coasting home. Bueckers finished the day with 30 points, Suggs had 18, and junior Dlayla Chakolis totaled 17. Taylor McAulay and Claire Orth led the Cougars with 20 and 16 respectively while Claire Orth had 13.
Player of the Game
Paige Bueckers – Duh! When Hopkins was suffering for its lack of defensive enthusiasm in this game the one player who could not be lumped in with the guilty is Bueckers. The only way she knows how to play is hard. Make no mistake, Bueckers is an offensive wizard, and 30 points is a nice day at the office, but she stops as many as she scores and that's one of the things major college coaches love about the Hopkins sophomore. No doubt the UCLA staff spotted in the gym on Saturday went away impressed.
Hopkins – Paige Bueckers 30, Raena Suggs 18, Dlayla Chakolis 17, Kayhla Adams 9, Jaide Pressley 8, Maya Nnaji 2
Centennial – Taylor McAulay 20, Claire Orth 16, Sydney Stapleton 13, Lexi Matthews 8, Cate Flynn 4, Sarah Lavell 3, Jodi Anderson 2, Claire Johnson 1, Mady Sanders 1