Girls’ Team of the Year
Why the Royals won: Hopkins — with six Class 4A state titles —had finished runner-up three consecutive years. It included a 2017 loss to Elk River that ended a run at the team’s first undefeated season. This year was different. With Paige Bueckers leading the way, the Royals roared into state undefeated, then won their first two games handily. In the final, Bueckers was ill, but her teammates picked up the slack and Hopkins defeated Stillwater 74-45 to complete a 32-0 season.
What she said: “We’re very young, so I would say, ‘Young Pitbulls,’ ” Bueckers said of her team’s identity. “They’re young, but I’m competitive, and that’s spread across the whole team. And the younger kids, they listen really well, and they accepted coaching, and they accept criticism, and they work hard.”