A bump in the road didn't do much to discourage Hopkins. After losing their first game in a nearly a year Tuesday against Centennial, the Royals used a 90-64 romp over defending Class 3A champion and No. 2-ranked DeLaSalle to get back on track Thursday night.
The midseason matchup of Class 4A and Class 3A champions didn't play out like a showcase of Minnesota's best. An unusually high number of foul calls surrendered the show to the referees, but Hopkins snuck in the most baskets in between whistles to get the victory.
"It's frustrating, but you have to keep your mental capacity. You gotta forget the refs," Hopkins guard Nia Hollie said after scoring 16 points. "[The loss] motivated us. Not every team is going to have a perfect season."
The physical matchup turned into a free-throw shooting contest. Hopkins won from the stripe, hitting 23 of 34 (67.6 percent), led by Hollie's 8-for-8. The two teams combined for 52 fouls, not far from the Islanders' point total. Three DeLaSalle starters and one of Hopkins' fouled out, and Royals' standout senior Nia Coffey sat out most of the first half because of three fouls.
Despite Tyseanna Johnson's 28 points and Allina Starr's 15, the Islanders never were in position to extend their 11-game winning streak. They trailed by 11 at halftime and by as many as 28 in the second half.
"I don't want to say too much, but the refs took it away from us," Johnson said, adding that she's never played in such a foul-plagued contest.
While Coffey sat on the bench in the first half, Hollie, Taylor Anderson and Erin O'Toole made up for her absence. O'Toole finished with 17 points and Anderson 16.
Coffey was honored before the game for becoming the 12th Hopkins girls' basketball player to reach 1,000 points. She began the quest with 173 points as a freshman, 277 as a sophomore, 454 as a junior and has 267 this season. The total of 1,171 is the sixth most in program history.
"It feels really good to be able to accomplish that goal," Coffey said following her 22-point effort, 15 of which came in the second half.