Now 3 days of section finals to prepare for the state tourney. Its the traditional Wednesday finish in 6AAAA. That's Osseo hosting a Lake Conference rubber match between top seed Wayzata and 2 seed Hopkins. Both bands on hand which is never a bad thing. Especially after no bands for the 5AAAA doubleheader last night. More Jet's pizza and Pepsi on the concessions menu.
Wayzata opens with a pair of triples countered by a pair of Hopkins hoops. Ish El-Amin stops an 8-2 run with floater out of a timeout. 14-8 Wayzata at the midpoint of the 1st half. Then its soph Luke Paulson off the bench with a pair of triples. Ryan Lindberg with his 2nd 3 of the night. 25-11 Wayzata at 6:13. 31-19 Wayzata at the break.
Hopkins would rally to within 7 with an El-Amin drive and Zeke Nnaji 3 point play. But a big story was how Wayzata made Hopkins pay for mistakes. Shooting foul, turnover and 2 bad shots and Wayzata converts all of that into a 9-0 run in 2 minutes. Gavin Baumgartner 4 free throws, Lindberg for 2 and Drew Galinson with a triple. 40-24 Wayzata with 14:18 left and this one is out of hand. Blaise Beauchamp with a hoop but can't convert the 3 point play. That cuts the lead to 11 but Wayzata gets a hoop and Paulson tacks on yet another triple.
Hopkins tries to stay close with a Dane Zimmer hoop, El-Amin bucket and a Anthony Davis drive. 47-37 Wayzata with 9:35 left. But the Trojans won't give up the lead. Alex Jensen runs for a layup after a block and puts back a miss on a long possession. Jacob Beeninga adds 2 freebies and the lead is back to 16 with 6:23 left. Its bucket trading and free throws after that. Wayzata wins 66-51 and is the 1st team to advance to state. This is the 1st Wayzata appearance at state since 1959.
Hopkins finishes their season 23-6. Ish El-Amin leads the Royals with 17 points. Zeke Nnaji adds 16. Shot selection was a huge issue for the Royals. Way too many tough shots. Plus they couldn't get big stops. The bigs were not a factor inside which was the main advantage. Nnaji had 16 but mostly on dump offs not on postups.
Wayzata gets 16 points from Ryan Lindberg. A quiet 10 from Gavin Baumgartner (2 buckets) is the only other guy in double figures. But 2 others had 9 and 3 others had 6. The bench outscores the Hopkins bench 19-6 with Luke Paulson's 3 triples being 9 of those. This was a clinic in great offense. The term good to great shot is becoming large in today's game and this was a textbook clinic in it. Basic pass and cut action with the flare screen thrown in from time to time. Wayzata was very patient and moved the ball to great looks. Their guards, particularly the tiny sophomore guards Paulson and Beeninga, didn't turn it over. Anytime Hopkins made a mistake, Wayzata would hit a big shot to demoralize them. As to state seeding, I think they'll get the 5 seed if all holds. Lakeville North, Champlin Park, Apple Valley and Maple Grove would slot in front of them. But I think they would be in front of Chaska (worst case from 2AAAA), anybody from 7AAAA and in front of either Tartan or CDH from 4AAAA.