Tonight the Hopkins Royals (31-1) won their third straight state title and fifth title in seven seasons. The Royals beat Eden Prairie (64-52) for the second time this season led by 22 points and eight rebounds from senior Joe Coleman. Northern Iowa bound senior Marvin Singleton scored 15 points.
The intensity of the Hopkins team defense as well as the spacing of their offensive attack built them an early 10-4 lead. Ball movement and eventual Marvin Singleton lay-ins gave them their first multi bucket lead.
Eden Prairie then recovered with a skip pass as well as inside-out looks to Grant Soderberg who dropped in two quick threes from the corner. EP tied the game at 14 but after each of Soderberg's scores Zach Stahl stepped out to hit from distance.
Minutes later Hopkins built their third three basket lead of the game receiving the benefit of a very odd five second call (the official in the stands said that the EP player wasn't in the frontcourt for five seconds nor was the Hopkins defender within six feet). Then that same official whistled Dylan Stewart for a puzzling traveling violation when that ref was on the other side of the floor and had no angle (That same official would later call Hopkins for some odd calls in the second half too).
Hopkins then jumped at opportunities starting with Siyani Chambers dropping a beautiful bounce pass into Joe Coleman. Joe dunked then proceeded to dunk on Connor Nord's head. Siyani next scored two three-pointers and finished off his run with a steal and a breakaway lay-in.
At that point a Hopkins run felt immanent but a third Soderberg trey (as well as a second foul called on Marvin putting him on the bench next to Joe who also had two) gave the Eagles some halftime momentum as they were down two baskets at 32-28.
The second half was instant Hopkins control from all angles. The power of Singleton faced up out of the post and a hard dribble attack became a lay-up. Coleman scored with a fading squared up jumper after a fake and he attacked the glass to score with an o-board. And the biggest back breaker may have been the Demetrius Martin triple that extended the Eagle defense well beyond their capabilities and gave Hopkins a 46-30 lead.
On the other end of the court Eden Prairie's offense was dominated by frustration. Nord missed shots inside, the offense began to force quick passes that became turnovers or bad misses, and leading scorer Dylan Stewart had a long field goal 25 minutes into the contest.
Not ready for the fat lady to bellow Eden Prairie re-focused and went on a 10-2 run. Soderberg again nailed a three plus Stewart worked his way to the rim for three more scores and Derek Dedeker found the bottom of the net scoring on a tough angled floater off the glass over Coleman. A television time-out then brought the teams to their huddles at 52-46.
Eden Prairie was now confident enough to make a run? No.
At this point Joe Coleman pretty much brought the Royals home. He scored on a finger roll followed by a spin move in the post for a basket. Eden Prairie also fouled Coleman around the cup five different times resulting in six free throw makes for the Gopher bound senior.
One of those misses was sandwiched around the two field goals that put the game away for good. Coleman is so strong that he cut through the lane, was bumped and on his way down to the ground Joe was strong enough to touch the ball in anyway. Then after he missed the free throw Coleman got his own rebound and scored a lay-up that allowed the hometown fans to chant "this one's over" with just two minutes to go in the game.
Coleman made 8 of 10 shots and 6 of 10 free throws to score 22 points. Marvin made 6 of 9 attempts scoring 15 points. Siyani hit 4 of 10 attempts, including a pair of three-pointers, scoring a dozen plus he dished out six assists. Zach Stahl scored ten points making 5 of 6 attempts plus he snared eight boards.
For EP Soderberg led with 16 points including five three pointers.