Chaska players celebrated their 67-62 Class 4A state semifinal victory over Hopkins Wednesday night at Target Center. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine
Take a team full of confidence after an undefeated season and throw in a fearless sophomore point guard. Add a nearly unstoppable low post force and mix with an unselfish approach and a commitment to defense. What do you have?
The biggest upset of the high school basketball season.
Chaska (17-0) pulled it off with a 67-62 victory over Hopkins, ranked No. 1 not only in Minnesota but in the nation by ESPNW. The Hawks gave the Royals their first loss since 2018, after a state record-tying 78 consecutive victories.
“This was a total team effort,” Chaska coach Tara Seifert said. “We knew this team was capable of winning and we’re resilient. They believed in themselves. Together has been our word all season.''
Chaska, with freshman guard Kennedy Sanders attacking, junior forward Mallory Heyer controlling the paint and senior Kaylee Van Eps making veteran plays down the stretch, pulled off the biggest victory over the girls’ basketball season, defeating No. 1-ranked Hopkins 67-62 in the Class 4A semifinals.
It was Hopkins' first loss since the 2018 Class 4A championship game, breaking a state record-tying streak of 78 consecutive victories.
Heyer, who has committed to the University of Minnesota , finished with 24 points and 13 rebounds.
Many of those points owed to the play of point guard Sanders, who fearlessly went right at Hopkins and forced the Royals out of their game. She finished with 21 points. Van Eps added 13 points, including 10 in the second half as the Hawks (17-0) fought off repeated attempts by Hopkins to rally.
Chaska (17-0) had 18 assists, Hopkins just six.
Taylor Woodson had 16 points and NuNu Agara had 14 to pace Hopkins (16-1).
The Royals' victory in the quarterfinals last week tied the Fosston girls' program, which won 78 games between 1999 and 2002.
Check back later for more on the game.
Chaska’s Mallory Heyer (24) goes up for two of her 24 points against Hopkins. Heyer, who has verbally committed to the Gophers, also had 13 rebounds to help lead the upset of the top-ranked Royals. Photo: Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine