Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hopkins Girls Ready to Defend State Title

The Hopkins girls played together and won the Dakota Showcase at Augustana in South Dakota this past weekend, defeating 3 AAU teams from WI and NE. Everybody played from last year's state championship roster except (of course) the seniors and 8th graders Sam Trammel and T.T. Starks and 11th grader Aminah El. 2015s Trammel and Vivia Livingstone are on the summer roster, Starks and El are not.

The starting 5 returns post Gracia Hutson and the Coffey sisters, Nia and Sydney. Hutson and Sydney will be seniors, Nia a junior. Joining them in the starting 5 are juniors-to-be guard Taylor Anderson and 5-10 Mikaala Shackleford.

The bench consisted (last weekend) of senior-to-be Brianna Boileau, juniors-to-be Alexis Garcia and Erin O'Toole, and several girls who were not on last year's roster including McKayla Chandler, Molly O'Toole, Kelly Raines and Sarah Westman. 7 girls came off the bench to play in the quarter-final, 4 in the semi and only 1 (Erin O'Toole) in the final, so it remains to be seen how much this bench can contribute.

The starting 5, however, is beyond question.

Nia and Sydney Coffey scored about 16 ppg while Nia averaged about 11 defensive stops per game. Neither is what you'd call a distributor, however, with 2 ball distributions each per game.

Shackleford scored about 8 ppg with 7.5 defensive stops and 4 distributions.

Anderson scored 6 ppg with 6 distributions and 2 defensive stops.

Hutson scored just 2 points in the 3 games with 3 defensive stops and 1 distribution. O'Toole backs her up and scored 4 ppg with 1.5 defensive stops.

Also off the bench, Garcia scored 2.5 ppg, Raines had 3 defensive stops per game and Bileau 1 distribution per game.

Hopkins beat Fox Valley Hustle (WI) in the quarter-final 57-43 despite shooting 56 percent on FT. In the semi, they beat Pinnacle Bank (NE) 48-31 despite failing to convert a single 3.

In the final, Hopkins trailed Omaha Sparks 42-37 with 4 minutes left, and still trailed by 1 at the 2 minute mark. But the Royals closed it out with an 18-4 run to the final buzzer as Sydney Coffey made 8-for-8 FT inside of 2 minutes. Nia had 25 points and 17 boards in that game, Sydney scored 19. Shackleford and Anderson had 12 distributions between them.

Hopkins turned the ball over a bit, more than their opponents, in fact. Eden Prairie and Lakeville North should hope to do the same when they meet Hopkins next year. Otherwise, it's katy bar the door.

Nia Coffey will be 1st team all-state as a junior, Sydney 2nd or 3rd team all-state as a senior, Shackleford is a tremendous athlete who still plays basketball a little bit tentatively, and Hutson is very very solid despite the occasional lack of numbers on this perimeter-oriented team. Anderson is the one to watch in her 1st year as the starting point guard. Her quickness means the sky is the limit for her despite her 5-5 size, but the quality of the decisions she makes with the ball at very high speed will determine how high she actually goes. By the time they are seniors, she and Nia Coffey could be the best guard tandem this state has ever seen.

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