Royals return to State

Prologue
Its the 2015 Section 6AAAA Championship game between #5 Eden Prairie and #6 Hopkins.  These teams played a classic to end the regular season.  Have to expect that again.  Sold out crowd at Cooper for this one.  No pizza on my menu which is a bad choice by me but a game this good does require Pepsi.  We get both pep bands as an added bonus.  Augustana and Concordia with full or close to full staffs to see John Warren.  St. Thomas and Bethel also in the building. 

Number of Teams I've Seen: 159 (67 courts)

Beverage Consumption Counter: 1621.8 ounces (105 days, 141 games, 2 scrimmages added on)

  • Pepsi: 824 ounces
  • Coke: 192 ounces
  • Dr. Pepper: 48 ounces
  • Sprite: 200 ounces
  • Sierra Mist: 12 ounces
  • Barq's Root Beer: 20 ounces
  • A&W Root Beer: 72 ounces
  • Red Powerade: 120 ounces
  • 0 Calorie Fruit Punch Powerade: 20 ounces
  • Red Gatorade: 96.9 ounces
  • Water: 500 ml
Hot Dog Counter: 21

Song of the Day: Lips are movin - Meghan Trainor

Game Time:
The offense is slow to start but Graham Hutson breaks the ice with a 3 just before 4 minutes in for Hopkins.  Ishmael El-Amin with the pull up, a John Warren floater and Erik Davis runs the floor for a 3 point play at 10:07 to force an Eden Prairie timeout.  El-Amin adds a jumper and Vinnie Shahid with a 3 point play at 8:37.  22-14 Hopkins in front.  Josh Lanasa punishes Hopkins for gambling for a steal by taking it strong for a dunk.  Blake Cashman cuts for 2 and Jake Ruppert adds a layup to cut the margin to 2 at 5:50.  Ryan Jacobus with a layup and a 3 to put the Eagles back up 30-29.  Xavier Johnson's late 3 sends Hopkins to the locker room up 32-31.

Owen Chose turnaround and a 3 and Cashman runs out for a layup.  Hopkins not messing around as they take time down 38-34 with 13:45 left.   John Warren scores and El-Amin converts after a bad EP shot.  Hopkins pressure really pushing EP out on the floor away from the scoring zone.  But EP not going away.  Lanasa 2 layups and why not bury the 3 from straight away.  7-0 Lanasa run and its another Hopkins timeout.  45-40 EP with 9:46 left.  Hutson with a layup and Warren tips out a rebound and it eventually becomes a Shahid 3 to tie it.  Game really physical during this stretch with almost nothing being called but it was consistent.

El-Amin off ball screens for 2 hoops and its Hopkins back up 49-48 with 5:45 left.  Cashman 2 free throws, Jacobus with 1 of 2 free throws.  Eden Prairie grabs the miss and Lanasa turns that possession into a pretty 3 point play.  Then after a Hopkins miss its 2 on 1 and Cashman gives it up for Chose for a layup with 2:57 left.  Critical 8-0 run for the Eagles puts them up 56-49.  Hopkins calls timeout to regroup.

Shahid with a clutch 3 off hammer action and the extra pass, teams trade misses and then another quick EP shot.  That gives Hopkins the ball back and El-Amin goes up and under to take the hit.  He makes 1 of 2 with 1:32 left.  EP lead down to 3.  EP called for a double dribble but El-Amin misses.  Then Cashman drags the pivot foot for another turnover.  Xavier Johnson 3 to tie goes in and out.  EP rebounds and brings it back.  Pat Rock has a 10 second call as the trail but the lead official waves him off and grants EP's last timeout with 40.8 left (EP bench in the frontcourt).  Karma rears its head as Jacobus slips and falls as he catches the inbounds.  That's a walk and Hopkins still has life.  El-Amin hit with 34.1 left and he makes both ends of the bonus.  Brady Rudrud runs for a layup and the lead is still 3 with 27 seconds left.   Hopkins will play without a timeout and El-Amin hits the tough fadeaway for a long 2.  Hopkins still trails by 1.  Hopkins fouls Chose with 13.8 left and takes a timeout.

After the timeout, Chose misses the front end and here we go.  Hopkins will push to the front court, they miss a 3, Warren grabs a miss, another miss.  Ball loose just below the foul line as time is running out.  Shahid grabs it and heaves it toward the basket and its a foul call!  Shahid to the line with 1.3 left.  Cold blooded daggers as both free throws are nothing but net.  Xavier Johnson steals the inbounds.  Hopkins wins 59-58 to advance to state.

Post Game
Eden Prairie finishes their season 24-5.  Josh Lanasa 15 points to lead the Eagles.  He had 11 of those in the 2nd half.  Blake Cashman adds 10.  Owen Chose and Ryan Jacobus 9 each.  Brady Rudrud adds 8.  This one will eat away at the Eagles.  3 bad shots, 3 turnovers, a missed front end and 2 offensive boards (on the last possession) all in the last 3 minutes.  After some good long possessions early, Hopkins was able to ratchet up the pressure and force EP out.

Ishmael El-Amin leads Hopkins with 17 points off the bench, 11 in the 2nd half.  Vinnie Shahid 8 of his 11 in the 2nd half.   Both came up large down the stretch.  John Warren only 6 points but I also had him for at least that many rebounds.  Most cases you would say Hopkins really stole one and frankly you'd be right.  But Hopkins has done this time and time again over the years.  Once again they find a crazy way to win and take advantage of the Eagles mistakes.


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