Saturday night was Round Three of the Hopkins-Minnetonka rivalry-this time for the Class AAAA title as Lizzie Odegard scored 17 points and 23 rebounds to lead the Skippers to a 61-52 win over the Royals at Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota campus.
It was the first state title for Minnetonka in their second trip to state. The Skippers made their last state tournament appearance in 1999. Hopkins state tournament winning streak ended at 17 games.
Now to the game. Nia Hollie would start the final game of her high school career before heading to Michigan State next season. She would open the scoring 1;19 into the game, her only first half points as she went 1-10 from the field. Minnetonka would tie the game on a pair of free throws from Laura Hamilton. Ashley Bates would also hit a couple of free throws to regain the lead. The Skippers would go on a 4-0 run that would end with another score by Bates. With Hollie in a scoring funk, Bates would step up in the first half. She would pick up a three point play on a rebound and turn a steal into a score. Minnetonka would right their ship on a basket from Odegard that came from a pass by Chrissy Carr and Hamilton would cut the lead to one. Odegard, who will play next season at UW-Milwaukee,would score four consecutive points to put the Skippers ahead. Carr would hit a shot from Cedar-Riverside to extend the run to seven and Grace Allen would tally to make it a 9-0 run. The run would increase to 11 on two free throws from Kayla Mershon before Bates would end that run. Bates would score on a rebound and Minnetonka would lead 34-26 at halftime.
Bates would begin the second half scoring on an assist from Hollie :57 into the half. She would also score on a rebound. Hopkins would close on a basket from eighth grader Paige Boeckers and the Hollie to Bates combination would cut the lead to two.Foul trouble would be a factor for the Royals when Dominique McNeely picked up her fourth foul with 11:39 to go. But there was still some hope left for Hopkins as Hollie broke her slump with a score that tied the game at 36. The Skippers would vault back into the lead on Odegard’s basket She would also score as well as Allen to put Minnetonka on a 6-0 run. There would be some life for Hopkins when Bates picked up a three point play. However, the Skippers would get close to picking up the championship trophy as they would go on a 5-0 run. The Royals would lose Bates for the remainder of the game when she fouled out with 5:41 remaining. Minnetonka would increase their lead as Courtney Frederickson scored on a rebound to go up by five. Hollie would get a thee point play to cut the lead to two but Boeckers missed the front end of a one and one. The Skippers would be in possession and would wrap up the title on two free throws from Carr.
Other players in double figures for Minnetonka were Frederickson with 13 points and 11 rebounds and Carr with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Odegard’s 23 rebounds were four shy of the record of 27 set by Janice Streit of Eden Valley-Watkins in 1983. Bates led Hopkins with 28 points and Hollie added 18.
In the third place game at Ganglehoff Center on the Concordia University campus in St. Paul, the Eastview Lightning beat the White Bear Lake Bears 53-48.