The Royals won despite not having their leading scorer.
Hopkins senior Siyani Chambers is a fierce competitor. He had an even more determined look in his eyes Tuesday night.
The sleek lefthanded point guard carried the Royals, playing without their leading scorer, in the Class 4A, Section 6 final. The steadying force on both ends of the floor scored a game-high 23 points, carrying three-time defending state champion Hopkins to a 69-55 victory over Lake Conference rival Edina at Osseo High School, securing the Royals a return trip to Target Center.
Senior forward Zach Stahl, who averaged 19.1 points per game, missed the game because of a Minnesota State High School League infraction, according to two sources familiar with the situation. He is expected to miss the rest of the season.
"We were a little different team without Zach," Chambers said. "Everybody else stepped up tonight."
The loss of Stahl really cut into the Royals' depth. A few weeks earlier, Hopkins lost one of its top substitutes in senior guard Andre McDonald. The Gophers football recruit quit the team because of personal reasons.
Hopkins (28-1) led 35-26 at halftime, but the Hornets (19-10) took a 41-40 lead midway through the second half. Chambers quickly settled his teammates down, and ignited an 11-0 run to put the Royals back in command at 51-41 with nine minutes remaining.
Sophomore guard Jacob Wright added 18 points, all on three-pointers, for the Royals.
Chambers has been the engine that has driven Hopkins to its past two championships. He came off the bench for the 2009 title team. He's been a part of a lot of big victories, so where would he rank this one.
"Every win is big win for me," Chambers said. "I enjoy each and every one of them."