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Boys basketball looks to ride win streak into post season

Mar 19, 2018


Adam Segal

Dane Zimmer, junior, gets offensive rebound and goes back up for lay-up.

It has been 92 days since the Hopkins boys’ basketball team lost a game.

Riding a 21-game win streak, the Royals travelled to Minneapolis North to face the Polars on Feb. 13. The Royals hard work and consistent play to keep the streak alive game in and game out almost came to an end. The Royals were down 11 points in the second half and it looked like they would finally lose.

The Royals were down to their last straw, with no time remaining Anthony Davis, senior, got fouled and went to the line for two shots. He missed the first one, and the Polars called a timeout to make Davis think more about the game deciding shot. Davis sunk his last one and forced the game into overtime.

The Royals were able to grind out a win 74-72 to keep their streak alive.

“The whole overtime was a blur,” said Joe Hedstrom, senior. “All I remember is that we scored more points in the second overtime and we came out on top. The atmosphere was crazy in there.

The Royals have been the hottest team in Minnesota this year. They are riding a 25 game win streak since losing their first game to the, then, top ranked Cretin-Derham Hall Raiders in their first game.

The Royals started off the season against the Raiders on Dec. 2, and lost 73-86. This still stands as the most points the Royals have let up in a game. The Royals defense has been very strong this season, only giving up 67.53 points per game

“I think that our defense has stepped up another notch and it is giving other teams a lot of troubles. Hopkins has always been esteemed for its non-stop, harassing defense, and we are trying to bring back that respect for our defense,” Hedstrom said. “We get up on people and try to force turnovers more than most teams do, and always be ready to help and recover and everybody has to be on the same page for it to work.”

Along with their 25 game win streak, the Royals are currently the top scoring team in the state of Minnesota with 2157 in 26 games.

“We just have so many weapons and so much depth, we’re so dangerous in that aspect. Anthony [Davis], can go off, Blaise [Beauchamp], sophomore can shoot the lights out, Kerwin [Walton], sophomore, can shoot the lights out, Zeke [Nnaji], senior, can go off, Akeen [Woods], senior, makes shots, DJ [Davis], senior, comes off the bench and creates offensive energy, Dane [Zimmer], junior, gets great offensive boards, keeps possessions alive, and gets easy buckets,” Hedstrom said. “Offensively we have so many ways to pick people apart, and I think you see that when we have games where all 5 starters are in double digits.”

Part of the Royals’ success is coming from their top scorer, Nnaji, with 19.9 points per game. Davis and Beauchamp have also provided help to the Royals with 15.4 and 15.4 points per game, respectively. Walton is playing his first season with the Royals and has really made an impact averaging 11.2 points per game.

“We’re getting a lot stronger and smarter offensively and we’ve been playing much more solid defense. We try to get everyone involved,” Walton said.

The Royals have been especially strong in Lake Conference games. The Royals finished the regular season 8-0 in the Lake Conference and have earned the number one spot in the sections tournament.

“The Lake Conference games always seem to have more energy, and towards the end of the season we will spend a couple more days getting ready for them,” Zimmer said.

As the end of the season is just around the corner for the Royals, the team is losing seven seniors and Hedstrom is amongst them who wants to leave a impact not most athletes would think to leave.

The season is going by very fast and I can’t believe we only have 5 more regular season games,” Hedstrom said. I think I want for people to remember me as someone who wasn’t too cool for people, some athletes act tough or act as if they don’t know you when they see you in the halls. I want to be remembered as a fun-loving kid and someone who made everyone feel included because of my personality.”

Hedstrom also wants to have people remember a specific message that helped him through his high school career.

“I want people to remember the message that you can only control what you can control, work hard, and let the results fall where they may. I want to be a great teammate, listener, and worker. Even though basketball will end, those things are things you need throughout your life and are bigger than basketball,” Hedstrom said.

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