Tis the season for Hopkins fans to be jolly as they saw Nia Hollie deck the basket with a game high 28 points to lead the Royals to a 85-67 win over the Eastview Lightning in the Class AAAA semifinals Thursday night at Williams Arena on he University of Minnesota campus.
It was the third straight win for the Royals over the Lightning. The two teams met in last season’s Class AAAA final and in the Hopkins Tournament December 30. Also, Hopkins broke the 80 point mark for the fourth straight game
What looked like a good start following a great pass from Angelina Hammond was disallowed due to a foul on Emma Sinn. Megan Walstad opened the scoring for Eastview 1:06 into the first half. Hammond would have a say in the first to sores for Hopkins. She would score to tie the game and pick up an assist on Evelyn Knox’s basket. The lead would change hands several times in the first half. Eastview’s Allie Pickrain made what appeared to a three pointer but the officials examined the replay and found her foot was on he line so the call was reversed to a two pointer. The game would be tied at 13, 15, 20 and 25. Pickrain would hit a three pointer to put the Lightning ahead. That would be the last lead for Eastview because it started raining threes for Raena Suggs, who hit two from Dinkytown and Hollie, who will play next season at Michigan State put the Royals on a 9-0 run. She would score four straight points to give Hopkins a 39-30 halftime lead.
It didn’t take long for the Lightning to start the second half scoring as Walstad scored :04 into the half. Hopkins would eventually clinch a championship berth as Bates would score seven straight point that propelled them to a 9-0 run. Eighth grader Paige Boeckers, who is already receiving scholarship offers, would pick up an assist on Hollie’s basket. She would also hit her second three pointer and Suggs would score her third as the Royals kept the Lightning, under first year head coach Molly Kasper from sending them to the third place game Saturday afternoon. Hollie would continue her outstanding semifinal game with a three point play and a shot that went high off the backboard and scored.
The only other player in double figures for Hopkins was Bates with 23 points. Rachel Ranke led Eastview with 24 points. Walstad added 21 and Pickrain had 12 points and six assists.
The Royals improved their record to 29-2 and will play for the Class AAAA championship Saturday, March 19 at 8 PM at Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota campus. The Lightning fell to 26-5 and will play in the third place game, also on the 19th at 2 PM at Gangelhoff Center, on the campus of Concordia University in St. Paul.