No. 2 Eastview knocks off top-ranked Hopkins
• EASTVIEW 56, HOPKINS 54: In a battle of the top two teams in Class 4A, No. 2-ranked Eastview defeated No. 1 Hopkins on Friday night. Senior Kari Opatz scored 15 points to lead the visiting Lightning to the victory.
In what could have been a state championship game preview, Eastview trailed the entire first half but trailed by just one at halftime and forced key turnovers all game.
“We wanted to keep our composure and not fall behind, and we did that,” said Eastview coach Melissa Guebert. “We executed defensively and capitalized on mistakes.”
The Lightning roared out of the halftime break, opening the half with a short jumper from Opatz to go ahead for the first time.
“Tonight was a big team win for us because we knew we had to play together and spread the ball around to win,” Opatz said.
Three Lightning starters finished with double-digit points, and the focus was never on one single player.
“It’s a team effort,” Guebert said. “We take great pride in our team defense, and when we execute on defense, our offense shines.”
Eastview’s started shining midway through the second half, when sophomore Erika Schlosser made a long shot to give the Lightning a 50-42 lead. The lead shrank quickly, and it was 54-50 after Hopkins sophomore Nia Hollie, who scored a game-high 20 points, hit a three-pointer.
“The last four minutes of the game is what we expected to see from Hopkins,” Guebert said, “but our defense was ready.”
Eastview took advantage of two late Hopkins fouls and made four free throws to take a 56-54 lead with just seconds to play. A last-second half-court shot by Hollie rimmed out and Eastview locked up the victory.
“We really hope we see them again because we have tremendous respect for them, and we make each other better,” said Guebert.
Opatz also was excited for a possible rematch with the previously undefeated Royals saying: “Hopefully we play them again. It was a great battle and they make us better as a team.”
For Hopkins, it was the first loss since Jan. 8, ending a 21-game unbeaten streak.
• BLOOMINGTON KENNEDY 77, CHANHASSEN 66: Kenisha Bell had 29 points and eight assists and Tonoia Wade had 20 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Eagles, ranked No. 4 in Class 4A, past the Storm.