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Hopkins plows past Centennial to fifth straight 4A title game

By JIM PAULSEN, Star Tribune, 03/14/19, 7:45PM CDT


The undefeated Royals started fast and Paige Bueckers scored 28 points en route to a 75-51 victory.

Amaya Battle (5) of Hopkins was fouled by Sarah Lavell (32) of Centennial in the first half. Photo: CARLOS GONZALEZ • cgonzalez@startribune.com

Centennial had heard about it, saw it on tape, prepared for it in practice. But actually experiencing Hopkins’ pressure defense was something the Cougars simply weren’t ready for.

Hopkins forced 29 turnovers and got 28 points from the amazing-in-every-game Paige Bueckers to rout 75-51 in the Class 4A semifinals Thursday at Williams Arena.

“It definitely feels like they have seven people on the floor,” Centennial guard Taylor McAuley said. “They know how to get in the passing lanes, get ball pressure. We knew it was coming.”

“It was definitely a new experience,” added Cougars center Sarah Stapleton.

Chalk up the Cougars as the latest victims of Hopkins’ defensive tornado.

Centennial got the game’s first basket before Hopkins turned up the heat. Eight minutes of game-time later, Hopkins led 19-5 and never let the advantage get below double-digits.

First report

Hopkins spotted Centennial the game's first basket, then destroyed any hope the Cougars had with a 19-3 run and cruised to 75-51 victory in the Class 4A semifinals Thursday at Williams Arena.

Paige Bueckers scored 28 points to lead the Royals (31-0), who advanced to the championship game for the fourth consecutive season.

Check back later for more on the game.

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