Boys basketball weekend preview


provided by Jarrin Williams

Vinnie Shahid, senior, drives against St. Francis. Shahid is averaging 15.8 PPG this season.

Max Weesner, Staff Reporter

After opening the season 5-0 and defeating their opponents by an average margin of 38.4 points, this weekend will be the first real test for the 2015-2016 boys’ basketball team.

Heading into the weekend, the Royals are undefeated and ranked as the number two Class AAAA team in the state. They are led in scoring by Amir Coffey, senior, who is averaging 16.8 points per game (PPG), followed closely by Simon Wright, junior, with 16.5 PPG.

Ishmael El-Amin, junior, will return for his first game of the season this Friday. El-Amin will be an instant boost for Hopkins on the offensive end, even if he doesn’t start the game. As a sophomore, El-Amin led the Royals in postseason scoring, averaging 19.5 PPG in Hopkins’ four section and state games.

On Friday, the Royals will travel to Wayzata High School for their first conference game against the Wayzata Trojans. The Trojans will come into the game with a record of 3-1, their only loss coming to Lakeville North, a semifinalist in last year’s state tournament. Wayzata is the seventh-best team in the state, according to Minnesota Basketball News.

The Trojans will be led by senior point guard Johnny Beeninga. Beeninga has been Wayzata’s leading scorer every year since his sophomore year and leads the team in scoring once again this season. Beeninga is coming off a 25-point performance against Bloomington Jefferson.

Look for the Royals to apply their usual defensive pressure, creating turnovers and fast-break opportunities. While Wayzata may be the Royals’ biggest test thus far, the Trojans will be outmatched talent-wise on Friday night.

On Saturday, the Royals will face defending State Champion Apple Valley Eagles, the number one-ranked Class AAAA team in the state, in The Boys’ Breakdown Sports Tip-off Classic at Minnetonka High School. According to USA Today’s Computer Rankings, the Eagles are the third-best team in the country.

The Eagles, like the Royals, are 5-0 on the season. Apple Valley is an experienced team, with every starter returning from last year’s team.

They will be led by the ninth-best Class of 2017 recruit in the country according to ESPN, Gary Trent, Jr. Trent is the leading scorer in the state, averaging 35.6 PPG.

In a matchup of two teams both averaging exactly 92.8 points per game, the Eagles and Royals will be very evenly matched.

After this weekend, it will become clear just how good the Royals are this season.