MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Hopkins used a balance attack in reaching the Class 4A state girls basketball tournament and Royals coach Brian Cosgriff knows he can count on any of several players to step forward when needed.
It was junior Sydney Coffey’s turn in the finals.
Coffey scored 18 points to lead Hopkins to a 67-45 win against Eden Prairie in the Class 4A state girls basketball finals on Saturday at Target Center. Sophomore Nia Coffey — Sydney’s sister — added 12 points and had 9 rebounds as the Royals (30-2) won their third state title and first since 2006.
“On any given night, it’s anybody’s ballgame,” Cosgriff said.
Hopkins averaged 73 points a game during the regular season. The Royals had three players average in double-figures, but no one averaged more than senior Brianna Williams’ 11.3 points per game.
Sydney Coffey — who averaged 10.7 points a game in the regular season — only had 3 points at halftime on 1 for 10 shooting. In a close contest, she felt the second half was her time to shoulder the load.
“In the first half my shots weren’t falling that much and I had to make an adjustment in the second half,” Coffey said. “I think it ended up pretty well.”
Coffey hit two 3-pointers and scored eight points over a five-minute span early in the second half as Hopkins turned a 24-22 deficit into a 37-28 lead and the Royals never looked back.
“She was amazing,” Nia Coffey said. “She really brought the energy. She passed it along through all of our teammates and she really helped us through this.”
Hopkins hit five 3-pointers in the second half and shot 59 percent from the field, outscoring the Eagles 45-23 after halftime. Along with balanced scoring, the Royals also play lockdown defense.
During the regular season, Hopkins’ opponents averaged 30 turnovers per contest. In the finals, the Royals forced Eden Prairie into 20 turnovers.
“We focused on playing harder defense, forcing their shot and not giving them penetration in the middle,” Nia Coffey said about the second-half turnaround.
Jackie Johnson led Eden Prairie (24-5) with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Shayne Mullaney scored 12 points for the Eagles, who were playing in their first championship game in their second state tournament appearance.
Hopkins won two of three games against Eden Prairie during the regular season as the two teams shared the Lake Conference championship.
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