Class 4A: Champions take hit but don't flinch

  • Article by: DAVID LA VAQUE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 18, 2012 - 10:09 AM

Osseo's early edge faded quickly, as the Royals dialed up the defensive heat and rolled to the 4A championship.

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Osseo grabbed a seven-point lead early in Saturday's Class 4A girls' basketball state title game at Target Center, hoping to convince defending champion Hopkins of its upset intentions.

The top-ranked Royals were unmoved.

Hopkins secured a 77-55 victory with a 19-2 first-half run that built a 30-15 cushion. With those points in the bank, the 30-1 Royals lived off the interest. They captured a fourth state title since 2004 in the process.

"Even before we started practice, getting to the state tournament and winning was our goal," senior forward Sydney Coffey said.

Hopkins and Osseo started the year ranked first and third, respectively. The Royals maintained their place among the elite while the Orioles stumbled. They were not voted one of the state tournament's four seeded teams but used the snub as motivation.

Osseo (26-6) played with purpose early in Saturday's game. Olivia Antilla scored the game's first five points and Janay Morton added a three-pointer as Osseo built an 8-1 lead.

Hopkins point guard Taylor Anderson said her team did not panic but felt a sense of urgency.

"We were like, 'We're going to step it up right now. We're going to step on their throats,' " Anderson said.

The team followed her lead. Hopkins got at least two points from four of its starters and tied the score 13-13, part of a 19-2 surge the Royals used to take control. Meanwhile, Antilla picked up three fouls.

Orioles coach Joey Waters said Antilla's foul trouble, combined with Hopkins' determination, altered the game plan.

"After a while we got out of sync and we couldn't get it back," she said. "Once you get down by 15 or 20 to a team like them, it's very hard to come back."

Hopkins closed out the first half strong. Several layups helped the Royals outscore Osseo 22-10 in the paint. They went to work on the glass as well, evidenced by a 10-3 advantage in second-chance points during the first half.

Hopkins's Coffey sisters, Sydney and junior Nia, combined for 30 points. TT Starks added 10 points and Anderson scored all nine of her points before halftime.

Antilla (15 points) was the only Osseo player in double figures.

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