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No. 1 Hopkins downs Buffalo 79-62

By Jim Paulsen, Star Tribune Staff Writer, 03/16/11, 12:00PM CDT


The Royals pulled away in the second half of the Class 4A quarterfinals

Buffalo's Rachael Mussell and Hopkins Nia Coffey dove for a loose ball. Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune

In the Target Center hallway outside of his locker room, Hopkins coach Brian Cosgriff huddled with his coaches, expressing concerns about his team’s performance in the second half of its Class 4A quarterfinal game against Buffalo — a 79-62 victory for the Royals.

“It was a tale of two halves,” Cosgriff said. “We played pretty well in the first half, but we had some things to work on in the second half.”

Perhaps. But Cosgriff was obviously being modest.

Hopkins was not just good in the first half; the deep and talented Royals — the tournament’s top seed — looked unbeatable.

With guard Bri Williams leading the Royals’ defensive pressure, Hopkins completely took Buffalo out of its offense. Hopkins led 41-23 at halftime by forcing 20 turnovers and allowing Buffalo to get to the free throw line just two times.

Williams was the catalyst, scoring 13 of her team-high 19 points in the first half and coming up with a pair of steals.

“I think we played pretty well,” Williams said. “It’s a lot of pressure here. I didn’t get much sleep last night.”

Buffalo’s more aggressive play fueled Cosgriff’s second-half worries. The Bison attacked the basket harder and played Hopkins tough, outscoring the Royals by one point.

“We’ve got to get better at adjusting,” Cosgriff said.

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