Was it a preview of what is to come this winter or just an hour of summer fun at the conclusion of the grueling AAU season? Probably a little bit of both. Regardless, it was Hopkins that took care of…
Was it a preview of what is to come this winter or just an hour of summer fun at the conclusion of the grueling AAU season? Probably a little bit of both. Regardless, it was Hopkins that took care of business Sunday with an 84-59 win over Wayzata to defend its Pacesetter Sweet 16 high school championship at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph. Hopkins versus Wayzata is a rivalry that continues to intensify as the Trojans have been transformed into a legitimate state championship contender while Hopkins continues to dominate the majority of their encounters.
Sunday’s game was close in the early going. Hopkins was in a bit of foul trouble and the score was tied at 22 after one quarter. The Royals gained some separation in the second, building a double-digit lead by halftime. After the break it was all Hopkins as Wayzata struggled with turnovers and failed to execute in the half court. They also missed countless shots from close range. Hopkins, meanwhile, did what Hopkins does: moved the ball efficiently, dialed up the defensive intensity and knocked down an impressive number of shots.
It was the youngsters who impressed most on Sunday for Hopkins, especially freshman guard Amaya Battle and incoming 8th grade forward Taylor Woodson. Battle has been a varsity regular for two years already, and filled in admirably as a starter last season when Paige Bueckers was hurt. Woodson is a physical specimen whose powerful build and advanced skillset make her look years older. Both players will be relied upon this season in the absence of last year’s seniors, shooting guard Raena Suggs (Nevada-Las Vegas) and post Angie Hammond (Minnesota Duluth). Hopkins will also benefit from the maturation of freshman Maya Nnaji, an athletic 6’3 forward who will likely move from a supporting role and into the spotlight.
In winning the title, Hopkins defeated Holy Family by 26, New Ulm by 32, Minnehaha Academy by 47 and Wayzata by 25. The regular season may be three months away but that level of performance is a nice way to end the summer season and a healthy reminder that the Royals are still the team to beat.
SWEET 16 FINAL RESULTS
- Championship game: Hopkins 84 Wayzata 59
- 3rd place game: Stillwater 58 Minnehaha Academy 52
- 5th place: Prior Lake 63 Waseca 35
- 7th place: Stewartville 60 New Ulm 51
- Consolation: Minneota 59 Lac qui Parle Valley 52
- Hopkins 4-0
- Wayzata 3-1
- Stillwater 3-1
- Minneota 3-1
- Prior Lake 3-1
- Minnehaha 2-2
- Holy Family 2-2
- Stewartville 2-2
- Waseca 2-2
- LPQV 2-2
- Maranatha 2-2
- Willmar 2-2
- New Ulm 1-3
- Pelican Rapids 1-3
- Eden Valley-Watkins 1-3
- Grand Rapids 0-4