If one didn't know better, it would be easy to think it was all part of Hopkins coach Brian Cosgriff's master plan. But, for his coaching pedigree and basketball acumen, even Cosgriff could not have drawn things up more perfectly.
Hopkins, playing with startling energy and a renewed sense of purpose, scored the first 20 points of the game and cruised past Wayzata 71-44 to win the Class 4A, Section 5 championship Wednesday night at Osseo High School.
The game was remarkably similar to a year ago, when Hopkins lost to Minnetonka in the regular-season finale before routing the Skippers in the section championship game. The Royals went on to cruise to the Class 4A state title.
Hopkins lost to Wayzata --the Royals' only loss -- in the final game of the regular season less than two weeks ago. And, just like in 2011, they used that loss as motivation.
"It's a long season, and I think we had lost our edge," said Cosgriff, referring to the loss. "We really wanted to come out tonight and perform well."
Perform well was a massive understatement. Hopkins (28-1) played as near to perfect a first half as can be expected. The Royals' half-court defense gave Wayzata's guard fits, holding the Trojans scoreless for the first 6 1/2 minutes of the game and without a basket until there was 7:17 left in the first half.
"That was a tough start," Wayzata coach Mike Schumacher said. "They were awfully good."
Hopkins' always-entertaining offense was led, as it has been so many times, by the Coffey sisters. Junior Nia scored a game-high 24 points, 19 of them in the first half as Hopkins built a 44-17 lead. Older sister Sydney, a senior, was almost as prolific, tossing in four-three pointers en route to a 17-point night.
"It's a really big deal to be able to play with her," Nia said of playing with Sydney. "I didn't want this game to be the last one."