#1 Hopkins holds off #2 Henry Sibley

Chris Halvorsen

Ah the big affair that was #1 Hopkins making the trek to #2 Sibley. A full house at Sibley (what a nightmare parking was). Blake Hoffarber, Ben Biewen and Edina, Greg Meyer and Minnehaha and Jonah Travis from DLS. All the usual AAU suspects in attendance too with Rene Pulley (cha ching), Al Harris (43 Hoops) and Tom Krosschel (MN Pump N Run) all watching for talent. And of course, the famous Taco In A Bag! Huge Sibley student crowd tonight and they are amped up as they're chanting even before warmups start (but surprisingly docile during the JV game).

Hopkins with the 1st 6 of the night in 2:41 as Sibley is very sloppy against the Hopkins pressure D. Sibley trying to play some 1-2-2 zone to hold the Royals down. Very interesting considering Hopkins hit 13 triples last night. But that zone does allow you to get to shooters (in theory). Sibley claws back to 16-11 as Maurice Hernandez gets a bucket off the flex (aaaah, electric shock). Hopkins goes on a 13-4 run over the next 3:45. Coach Novak really hot at the 1 of the young officals during the run and gets a Technical (that official had a really bad night with at least half a dozen whistles that were way late or dreadfully wrong). Mike Bruesewitz with 1 of the 2 free throws but Sibley couldn't make anything of the possession. After the run, the other young official (who I actually think does a good job) calls an absolutely horrendous T on Trent Lockett for slapping the backboard trying to block a shot. You don't make that call in this type of game, period. Bruesewitz with 1 of 2 again and then converts a bucket on the possession. Jimmy Ryan with late Sibley points in the half for a spark and Sibley survives down 43-33 at the break. Cowles 4 triples for 12, Trent Lockett 8, Royce 7. Rostampour and Bruesewitz with 6 each. Sibley couldn't get into any offense and they didn't use Francis Bungue all that much to handle. Sibley 4-11 FTs in the half to 11-14 for Hopkins (3-6 Royce after 1-8 yesterday).

Royce starts the half with an isolation from the right elbow for 2. Nice set to take advantage of Royce's skills and stay within the system (it comes out of their base motion set). Broghammer with 2 inside for a 50-37 lead at 15:25. But Hopkins is taking quick 3s in transition and they're not going. Coach Novak not pleased and he wants time out. 2 FTs from Marcus Williams gives Hopkins a 56-44 lead with 12:43 to go. But every good team has a run in them and Sibley's starts now. Bruesewitz with 2 free throws, Jake Kreuser with a bucket, Royce with a quick miss and then Halvorsen goes around him for 2. Hopkins turns it over and Kreuser scores again on an offensive rebound. 56-52 Hopkins after an 8-0 Sibley run and the crowd is back in it. Timeout Royals at 10:17.

Broghammer with 2 FTs and then Royce with a dunk off a Sibley turnover. 60-52 Hopkins with 7:39 left. Then a bad Sibley sequence. Broghammer ends up on Maurice Hernandez but they never get him the ball with the opportunity to exploit the mismatch. Kelvin Minnig ends up missing a bad shot instead. Hernandez does get a 3 after Royce misses on another iso. 60-55 Hopkins with 6 minutes left. Lockett with a layin and then Broghammer puts it down from the foul line for 2+1 at 5:14 and the lead is 65-55 and it looks like Hopkins has survived the run. But on the next possession at 5:01, Royce fouls Bruesewitz hard going to the rim and then proceeds to make a demonstration with some comments which earns him a technical. Let's just say that my other obligations unfortunately force me to keep my feelings on this issue to myself. Bruesewitz only makes 2 of the 4 free throws, they get nothing on the possession as Hernandez misses a triple. Kreuser misses the front end of the bonus at 4:44. 66-57 Hopkins and this one is basically over. Hopkins makes enough free throws to win it 77-66.

For Sibley, a tough loss but credit to them for fighting back to within 4 and only being down 10 at the half despite playing very poorly. Mike Bruesewitz leads the way with 15 points (only 3 FGs and 9-13 FTs). Chris Halvorsen and Maurice Hernandez with 12 each. I was surprised that Sibley didn't try to take more advantage of Bruesewitz on the outside when Broghammer was guarding him late (after Royce went to the bench with the T and 4 fouls). Unfortunately in the zone they didn't find Cowles and didn't rebound well so they had to play more man defense than they may have initially wanted to. They did settle down and take better care of the ball in the 2nd half. They're now 8-2 and the rest of their schedule is in the Classic Suburban except for the Border Battle game vs Kaukauna, WI on January 24th.

For Hopkins, Mike Broghammer with a nice night of 17 points to lead Hopkins (9-11 FTs). Ray Cowles with 5 more triples for 15 points. Trent Lockett slashed his way to 15 points also. Royce White quiet with 11 points and had a disappointing night. He made some nice plays but he seemed kind of out of it tonight. Next major challenge for the Royals may be against Milwaukee Vincent at the East Metro Showcase on January 23rd.

Chris Halvorsen picture courtesy of MNPhotoNet.net

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