(PHOTOS) Hopkins Claims Second Consecutive State Basketball Title
The Royals defeated Osseo 77-55 Saturday at the Target Center in the Class AAAA final.
It was clear Hopkins had secured a second state championship in a row for several minutes before the buzzer actually signaled the end of Saturday’s game. But that didn’t dampen the players’ enthusiasm when the clock made their 77-55 victory over Osseo official. Players on the bench leaped out of their seats. The girls hugged one another. Some even danced in celebration.
Osseo actually put the first points on the board, starting the game with a 5-0 run. But Hopkins hit its stride soon after, helped by numerous Osseo fouls that allowed the Royals to capitalize at the free throw line.
From there, Hopkins was off to the races.
“We just pushed the bar,” Guard Taylor Anderson said. “We like to play a fast, video game pace.”
Sisters Nia and Sydney Coffey scored a game-high 15 points apiece, a total also reached by Osseo’s Olivia Antilla. The Coffeys’ father, Richard Coffey, cheered them on from the stands throughout the game.
“It’s difficult, actually, because you can’t get out there and play with them. You can only yell and scream,” he said.
Nia Coffey said Osseo’s athleticism forced Hopkins to step up its defense. She was a large part of the team’s ability to do that, tallying four steals throughout the game.
She also led with a game-high 11 rebounds—an area Hopkins as team absolutely dominated. The Royals’ 35 rebounds were nearly twice Osseo’s 19.
Head Coach Brian Cosgriff did bench Nia Coffey when she received a fourth foul with 11 minutes to go in the second half, but Hopkins was otherwise able to minimize mistakes while still pushing the pace.
“We do it all the time in practice, so it comes second nature to us,” Nia Coffey said.
In interviews after the game, reporters questioned Cosgriff about the secret to his repeat championships. The coach, however, credited the players and a series of outstanding plays those players made—not his own coaching ability.
“You want to be a good coach? Have great players,” Cosgriff said. “ Anybody who says otherwise, they’re lying through their teeth.”
Dan Johnson, the district’s director of athletics and activities, noted the hard work the players put in—both in AAU leagues over the summer and the high school season.
“It’s such a long season. This is half the school year for these kids,” Johnson said. “You really have to be impressed by the work they put into it.”
Senior Gracia Hutson said it will be weird to go back to school knowing she doesn’t have basketball ahead of her anymore. The expectations created by the previous championship in some ways made this season harder than the last, she said. Thanks to her teammates, though, it was also an exciting ride and a spectacular finish to her high school career.
“You don’t have to put as much pressure on yourself when you have such good players around you,” Hutson said.