Hopkins, ranked No. 1 and the top seed in the state tournament, faced a Titans team allowing the fewest points per game in Class 4A. After feeling out Tartan’s schemes for a portion of the first half, the Royals took control.
Hopkins (29-1) shot above its season averages in field goal and three-pointer percentage in the first half. The Royals caused 11 Tartan turnovers and committed only five.
“The problem is we turned it over too much from the top of the key to the halfcourt area, which I call the red zone,” Tartan coach Mark Klingsporn said. “And they’ll make you pay in the open court. They are good at that.”
Tartan’s tendency to pressure some Hopkins ballhandlers and not others made the Royals struggle in transition and “for a second it got us thinking,” Hopkins coach Ken Novak Jr. said.
But Hopkins switched roles. Trailing 19-18, the Royals became the aggressors, going on a 10-0 run and forcing four turnovers by Tartan (23-7).
Hopkins senior guard Kamali Chambers gave his team a lift with a pair of nice passes that led to easy layups and leading all players with 21 points. He finished 5-for-7 from the three point arc.
“He’s a very good point guard and a very good shooter,” Novak said. “Kamali is a kid that sparks us.”
DAVID LA VAQUE