The Basketblogger talks Washburn vs Hopkins

I was with the Basketblogger last night for the Washburn vs Hopkins game. Here's an alternate perspective on what happened at the game from his perspective.

An all-star cast was in attendance at tonight's matchup between the #1 AAAA Hopkins Royals and the #1 AAA Washburn Millers. Former Hopkins center Anthony DiLoreto joined the coaching staff on the Hopkins bench. Usual suspects Rene Pulley and John Millea of the Star Tribune preps were present. Hoops stars such as Sam Dower, Jordair Jett, former Royal Aaron Anderson, and Megan Nipe also spent their Friday watching the clash of the titans. It was apparent that Holy Angels, Osseo, St. Bernard's, Centennial, Richfield, Wayzata, Roosevelt, and DeLaSalle all had representatives. A Hopkins boys basketball game ranks somewhere up there with the Minnesota State Fair and a Twins World Series. An official who resembles Al Sharpton and is known for phantom calls led the zebras.

For the Basketblogger, it was my first time attending a game guarded by a metal detector and a warning sign against pot smoking. It was also my first live event this season. In my 15 years of watching high school hoops, I first witnessed someone botch the national anthem. Maurice Cheeks wasn't there to rescue her, but the instrumental version was available as a backup. Every school ought to have one on hand for situations like these. The P.A. system also malfunctioned after Dylan Hale's introduction, which stifled the crowd's adrenaline. The only pre-game festivity that did not disappoint was the all-beef hot dog.

Even without DiLoreto, Hopkins held the height advantage and won the tipoff. As the Czar predicted, the Royals ran their characteristic backdoor pass to Trent Lockett on the opening possession. The Millers saw this, broke up the pass, but failed to capitalize on the opportunity on its end. They still drew first blood en route to a 6-2 lead. Hopkins' first basket was a Royce White dunk. Dylan Hale, former Central Minuteman and Texas State-bound , responded with a thunderous jam of his own. The crowd was electrified on both ends. Mike Broghammer (Formula 44) stuffed one in to give Hopkins its first lead. Washburn immediately responded with a trifecta to retake the lead, but it was the last lead they enjoyed. Gopher football recruit and Miller center Ra'Shede Hageman dunked the last ball of the half, but racked up his third foul at the 6:18 mark. Tubby Smith and Tim Brewster should have also been in the building for their future Gophers. At the break, the score was 48-39 in favor of Hopkins.

The Millers closed the first half with an 11-5 run and opened the second half with an 8-0 run. It was a 3-point game at one point and Royce White missed four straight free throws in that stretch. Hopkins stretched the lead to 17, but Washburn again closed the gap to single digits with the help of Trent Lockett's first technical foul (for hanging on the rim after the fifth dunk of the game). Hopkins still held on. Washburn coach Reggie Perkins conceded close to the one minute mark, but the drama kept unfolding. Ra'Shede Hageman CAUGHT a Trent Lockett layup as Lockett hit the deck with no call. On the next possession, Al Sharpton T'd up Lockett for who knows what, and he was ejected by virtue of his second technical and fifth personal foul. David Stead and the MSHSL will take action by suspending Lockett for the next matchup against Bernard's, and I don't expect him to catch the same break as the Williams Wall did. The Royals could probably rest two starters next game and still win by double figures against the Bulldogs. The technical foul free throws and subsequent possession kept the final score close at 91-82 Hopkins. Washburn had MANY looks from beyond the arc but only hit six threes. Despite not having the size against the Royals, they crashed the offensive boards and disrupted the passing lanes. But the foul trouble, turnovers and too many missed dunks and three-point shots cost them the game.

Raymond Cowels III (RC-III), though scoring late in the first half, led all scorers with 22 points. Royce White followed with 21. Trent Lockett had 14 points and three blocks. Broghammer had a solid post game with 11 points and two blocks. DJ Peterson was the fifth Royal to score in double figures with a ten point performance off the bench. Cedric Martin of the Millers got to the line a lot, making eight free throws and leading the Millers with 18 points. Ra'Shede Hageman scored 16 with two blocks and Dylan Hale added 15.

Hopkins will next face Class AA St. Bernard's and Jordair Jett while Washburn meets St. Paul Johnson.

The Czar's thoughts on the game can be found here.

For more thoughts from the Basketblogger, you can read his hoops blog here.

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