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It's easy to get distracted over the holiday break.
Kids are spending time with family and friends, far away from school and basketball, so it would be understandable if Hopkins wasn't back up to 100 percent on Saturday. But Royals coach Brian Cosgriff would not let that happen.
Senior Molly O'Toole, who was awarded Player of the Tournament honors, helped lead Hopkins to a 69-47 victory over Minnetonka in the championship game of the Dick's Sporting Goods Holiday Classic.
O'Toole tallied 21 points and was extremely happy with her team's effort. “Coach (Cosgriff) prepared us really well. We were ready to play.”
With eight players scoring for the Royals, Minnetonka never really got close as Hopkins held a double-digit lead for most of the game. Jazz Martin scored 14 points and Nia Hollie chipped in 10 for the Royals, and that balance is exactly what Cosgriff was looking for.
“That's the beautiful thing about our team; anybody can step up on any given night. Tonight was Molly's night, and it could be someone elses the next night.”
It was a high intensity game, especially in the first half. But Hopkins was able to go on a run late, giving the Skippers an 11 point deficit to make up. The Royals never let off the gas in the second half, tacking on another 11 point difference to put Minnetonka away for good. Both players and coaches know how hard a tournament like this can be with teams like Minnetonka.
“We knew it was going to be tough,” O'Toole said. “Everybody plays their best game against us. We expect it every night.”
Cosgriff agreed, “We have good competition, so it's a nice way to end.”
O'Toole said playing in front of a home crowd also played a big role in the Royals' victory. “It was a great environment to play in,” she said.
Leading the way for the Skippers were Mackenzie Dahl and Anne Hamilton, who each had 11 points.
-- Benjamin Bakker