How to beat Hopkins

So while Hopkins is a huge favorite to win the state title in AAAA, no team is invincible. So based on what I've seen in my numerous viewings of Hopkins this season (and over the years), here's how I would try to defeat the Royals.

Assumptions: Hopkins will run a 8 man rotation with DJ Peterson and Marvin Singleton being the main guys. Moses Sundufu will be the 8th man. Joe Coleman is the 9th guy but he'll only see significant meaningful time if the game is out of hand or foul trouble comes into play. Don't expect to see freshman Siyani Chambers at the point unless the game is out of hand.

1) Don't Fight Pressure, Beat Pressure
When Sibley turned the ball over 10 times in 10 minutes in the 1st meeting, they got destroyed. When they took care of it, they cut a big lead to 4. They will overplay you so get some cheap backdoor points to beat the pressure. That said, stay away from Marcus Williams and Trent Lockett. Let somebody else get the ball to the frontcourt.

2) Keep Hopkins off the offensive board.
Trent Lockett and Mike Broghammer do a terrific job of crashing the offensive glass. You have to make them 1 and done.

3) Go after DJ Peterson.
He's the weakest link (note that I didn't say weak link) of a bunch of good links. When he's playing the backup PG spot, press Hopkins to death to see if you can get some cheap points. Marcus Williams won't rest much, but the few minutes he is out, you have to take advantage of no true point guard being out there. On defense, he's the least athletic defender so see if you can take advantage.

4) Take advantage of mismatches.
Coach Novak is very stubborn with his defensive matchups. If you get a favorable matchup (e.g Bruesewitz vs Broghammer out on the floor), you've got to take the NBA philosophy and abuse the matchup until it changes.

5) Eliminate the cheap points
Hopkins does a great job of running a set play for a layup on the 1st possession of the game and the 1st play of the 2nd half. They'll also run sets for cheap points out of timeouts and off the opening tip. On all underneath inbounds plays they'll have Broghammer (or whoever's playing center) on the ball-side block. If you face him, they'll throw it to the front of the rim for an easy 2. Eliminate those and you could save 6-10 points right there.

6) Don't let the shooters beat you.
There's no reason Ray Cowles should get a single 3 point look. Any 3 point shot he takes is a defensive mistake. Moses Sundufu is a good shooter but he can be streaky. Find him if hot. Trent Lockett has had big games from 3 but I'd rather have him and Marcus Williams beat me. Williams can make that shot, but he'd rather rack up assists. When Williams drives, play him to pass and make him finish.

7) Be Physical with Royce.
Bang Royce all over the place, deny him. Put in the Jordan Rules for him. Get in his head, put him on the foul line (especially late in the game as he's their worst FT shooter). If he tries to turn the game into a mano-a-mano game, that's a plus. I'd front him under most circumstances, but Hopkins does a nice job of going high-low with him and Broghammer in their 3 out-2 in motion so that could be more dangerous than useful. On offense, go at him instead of Williams or Lockett. Make him play both ends.

8) Slow the pace
Shakopee used this to frustrate the heck out of the Royals 3 years ago. They ran a very patient X cut offense looking for layups. Despite being significantly outmanned, they only lost that game by 6. You can't run with Hopkins so you might as well pull them out, let them get over aggressive and frustrated. I'm not necessarily saying stall, but if a team got ahead in the 1st half and went stall, I would be all for it. Play zone but make sure you've got a guy for Cowles.

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