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Now that's a debut! Feisty Cooper wins 3A championship in first-ever state tournament

By DAVID LA VAQUE, Star Tribune, 03/17/18, 7:45PM CDT


The Hawks defeated much-taller Northfield 49-37 by dictating a frenzied pace with fearless play.

Cooper players, including guard Ty'neecia Longs (4) holding the trophy, celebrated their team's 49-37 victory over Northfield to win the Class 3A championship Saturday. Photo: AARON LAVINSKY • aaron.lavinsky@startribune.com

Neither the pressure of playing in its first state championship game nor the imposing height of Northfield’s forwards rattled Cooper.

Instead, the feisty, fearless Hawks put all the pressure on Northfield. They were relentless, dictating a frenzied pace the Raiders couldn’t match. Cooper claimed a historic Class 3A championship with a 49-37 victory Saturday at the Target Center.

No. 1 seed Cooper (29-2) played to its strength: defense. The Hawks tormented Northfield ball-handlers, producing 20 turnovers – 11 on steals – and outscoring the Raiders 17-2 in points off turnovers.

Cooper guard Ja'Hyia Gaston (5) knocked the ball loose from Northfield guard Grace Touchette (21) in the first half. Photo: AARON LAVINSKY • aaron.lavinsky@startribune.com

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