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Hopkins picks up right where it left off, cruising to win over Becker

By Luke Hanlon, SportsEngine, 11/23/19, 1:00PM CST


The Royals' Maya Nnaji led all scorers with 19 points and picked up 12 rebounds as the reigning Class 4A champs return to action.

Hopkins' Maya Nnaji (34) shoots the ball over Becker's Megan Gamble (23). Nnaji led all scorers with 19 points, helping the Royals cruise to a 77-39 win over the Bulldogs. Photo by Cheryl A. Myers, SportsEngine

Hopkins' freshman forward Taylor Woodson (20) competes for a rebound with Becker's Adeline Kent (11). Woodson tallied 15 points in the Tip Off Classic on Saturday night. Photo by Cheryl A. Myers, SportsEngine

The last time Hopkins lost a game was 616 days ago, when the Royals fell to Eastview in the Class 4A state championship game on March 17, 2018. Since then, the Royals (1-0, 0-0) have won 33 straight, and if they play like they did in tonight’s 77-39 victory over Becker, that streak will continue for a while. 

So what is it that keeps Hopkins successful year after year, seamlessly adding more talented young players? 

“Honestly, it’s just luck, it is what it is,” Hopkins coach Brian Cosgriff said, referring to the amount of young talent he has on this year’s team and what contributes to them continuing to help lead Hopkins to successful seasons. 

It may be better to be lucky than good, but Cosgriff’s Royals, ranked No. 1 in Class 4A by Minnesota Basketball News, have many strengths, which includes the senior leadership of Paige Bueckers and KK Adams, who can help the younger players on the roster mature. 

Megan Gamble (23) scored a team-high eight points as No. 2-3A Becker fell to No. 1-4A Hopkins 77-39 in the Breakdown Tip Off Classic at Hopkins High School. Photo by Cheryl A. Myers, SportsEngine

First report

Hopkins opened its season Saturday with a 77-39 victory over Becker in the final game of the Breakdown Tip Off Classic at the Lindbergh Center in Hopkins.

The Bulldogs (0-1, 0-0) hung tough with the Royals in the first half, trailing by 16 at halftime. But the Royals, ranked No. 1 in Class 4A by Minnesota Basketball News, started the second half on a 21-4 run and took complete control of the game from there.  

The strength of Hopkins defense led it to victory, with pressure early and often. The Royals (1-0, 0-0) forced 32 turnovers and came away with 17 steals. Paige Bueckers led the way with seven steals, while her backcourt partner, Amaya Battle, added four. 

The Hopkins offense showed a lot of balance, as four different players scored 13 points or more. Maya Nnaji finished with a game-best 19 points, and she also had a game-high 12 rebounds. 

Megan Gamble paced the No. 2-3A Bulldogs, finishing with eight points, adding four rebounds and two steals. 

The MN Girls' Basketball Hub poll is for entertainment purposes only.

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