MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — An official announcement was made Tuesday night that was hardly a surprise.
Hopkins High School’s Paige Bueckers was named Miss Basketball Minnesota.
“Especially at Hopkins, there’s been a lot of Miss Basketball winners, so for me to be up there and win that award is just, it’s everything that I’ve dreamed of, and I wanted to win Miss Basketball since I was a little kid,” Bueckers said.
Her team won again last Thursday in the Minnesota State Girls Basketball Tournament’s semifinals. Then Friday, the team got the news that there would be no championship game. The tournament was canceled due to the threat of COVID-19.
“A lot of tears. We were all upset that we couldn’t finish,” Bueckers said. “We’ve been together through the time. I’ve had people over at my house.”
Bueckers was honored as a McDonalds All-American this year, but there also won’t be a game this year.
Her Miss Basketball honor was a surprise to no one, especially her hall-of-fame head coach Brian Cosgriff, who has coached many in the elite.
“She’s the best I’ve ever had, and we’ve had some great ones,” Cosgriff said.
She will always feel a bit unsettled that the quest to repeat and go unbeaten did not get done.
“It’s still kind of doesn’t seem real. Just not being able to go out, kind of just feels unfinished, like, my high school career, I just still have something left to do,” Bueckers said.
What she did was everything else, including create a buzz and a brand.
“It’s not about what you accomplish. It’s about what you accomplish with others,” Cosgriff said. “And she was very tight with her teammates and coaches, and the entire community, actually. I’ve never seen anything like it in terms of a following.”
And they can’t take that away from a high school career and a bright light that was like a basketball comet.
“We want to do everything together, and it was one of the funnest experiences I’ve ever had, just building relationships and experiences here,” Bueckers said. “Nothing is like high school basketball. I’ll miss it a lot.”