HOPKINS, Minn. (WCCO) – When you play for the Hopkins Girls Basketball Team, you play for state titles – which they’ve achieved the past two seasons. It’s not the same team in 2013, but they’re capable again of a high-quality season.

Watch them practice and you can see they are on to something. Coach Brian Cosgriff says they work hard to make playing hard easy.

“They know if they’re gonna come play they better take it serious, and they’re gonna work hard, and it’s gonna be a big, huge time commitment and there’s gonna be a lot of sacrifice,” Cosgriff said. “So they kind of understand that. And we lose some kids because of it, but, you know, we’ve had some good success.”

The success also comes from talent. Forward Nia Coffey is one of the stars and leaders. Last year, Nia’s sister was here. Now it’s her senior season, and she can feel some pressure.

“There’s pressure but I try not to think about it. I just take this opportunity to work hard, get to know the girls, get each other better every day,” Coffey said.

But this is done by team; a team concept, a team commitment. Guard Mikaala Shackleford says this commitment is strengthened by their relationships off the court.

“We hang out together a lot outside of school, so I think that helps, and outside of basketball,” Shackleford said. “It’s a chemistry thing, I think.”

That’s part of a journey that really is about one thing – playing your best basketball when it means the most.

“We focus on March because it is all about March. We’ve had some teams where we’ve had great years, but we couldn’t get to the state tournament. And so we wanna make sure we’re playing our best ball in March, and the key is to stay healthy – just like the Ravens,” said Cosgriff.

Coach knows. He’s been there before, filled with tough love.

“We just get through those times together,” said Coffey.

That’s why they are where they are, hoping to end it like they have the past two seasons.

“[A three-peat] would be an amazing feeling,” she said.


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