Eden Prairie got the ball in the hands of its intended shooter but ended up with a bucket worth one point less than what it needed.
Andre Wallace watched with disappointment as his last-second three-point attempt clanked off the back of the rim and teammate Caleb Wragge pushed in the rebound as time expired. The final layup meant nothing but a third consecutive loss for the Eagles as Hopkins walked off the court with arms raised and a 65-64 road victory on Thursday night.
"I got an open look and enough space. I felt like it was going in. That's why I kept my follow-through. Then it hit the back of the iron," Wallace said after finishing with 17 points, including 9-for-10 from the free-throw line, and nine rebounds.
Hopkins guard Kamali Chambers was happy with the shot he and his teammates forced Eden Prairie (12-5) to settle for in the final possession. As he had most of the night, Chambers kept a physical presence on Wallace, and his teammates plugged the passing lanes. This final stop gave the edge to Chambers in a matchup of two of Class 4A's top guards. The Hopkins guard collected 16 points and five assists, but most importantly the victory in a meeting of top-five teams.
"Kamali did a really good job pressuring [Wallace]," Hopkins' Jacob Wright said. "It was a battle, and that's when it's fun."
It wasn't fun for Hopkins coach Ken Novak Jr. to watch from the sideline. Twice the Royals (14-2) led by double figures and had a chance to pull away and both times failed. Hopkins built an 11-point lead by the midway point of the first half as Stephon Sharp contributed six consecutive points off the bench. Eden Prairie and Anthony Anderson's 10 first-half points quickly changed things.
Again in the opening minutes of the second half Hopkins surged to a 13-point lead at 42-29. With 3:26 left in the game, the Eagles briefly led 60-59.
"We didn't execute. We let them get offensive rebounds and we had stupid fouls," said Hopkins freshman starter Amir Coffey, who sat out most of the first half in foul trouble. "But it was good for everyone to pull out [a close game] like this."
Eden Prairie's rally was fed by Anderson's game-high 21 points but done without much scoring from senior Grant Shaeffer, who was battling injuries and illness.