Boys basketball section 6AAAA championship recap


provided by Jeffrey Thimell

Amir Coffey, senior, shoots the ball in the section championship. Coffey finished with a game-high 26 points.

Alex Kim and Max Weesner

The crowd noise is deafening. A trip to the state tournament is on the line. It’s playoff season, and the pressure is mounting on the Royals, but they have been here before.

“The Minneapolis North game had us in the same situation, a tough team with a tough will to win,” said Erik Davis, senior.

After upsetting Wayzata by a score 70-67 last Saturday in the section 6AAAA semifinal, Robbinsdale Cooper remained underdogs heading into Osseo High School for the Section Championship game against the Royals.

Cooper was confident, despite being beat by Hopkins by a score of 112-70 on the tail end of the Royals’ 20-game winning streak in late January. The game was held at Robbinsdale Cooper High School.

“The toughness that Cooper played with on Wednesday was a real surprise for us, especially compared to when we first played them earlier in the season,” said Davis. “We won because we had confidence in our abilities, and that really helped us in the final stretch of the game. It all came down to free throws and keeping control of the ball.”

After weathering a hot start by the Hawks, the Royals took an eight point lead. This time, however, Cooper didn’t go away. They came back to tie the game at 67 with 6:24 left in the game.

The Hawks missed eight of their last 10 free throws, and the Royals came out on top, earning a trip to state for the third consecutive season.

They were led by Simon Wright, junior, and Amir Coffey and Vinnie Shahid, seniors. Shahid led the way in the first half, getting to the basket at will and scoring 15 points. Wright scored 13 in the first half. The trio of Coffey, Shahid, and Wright combined for 38 of the team’s 44 first-half points.

In the second half, Coffey took over, scoring 16 points. Coffey finished the game with 26 and Shahid totaled 25 points.

For the Hawks, it was the Newbern show. Brothers Melvin Jr. and Beijan combined for 42 points, with Melvin leading the way with 24. Beijan, only a sophomore, got hot down the stretch, but it wasn’t enough for the Hawks to complete the upset.

The Royals’ first state tournament game will be at 2 pm on Wed., March 9 at the Target Center against the North St. Paul Polars.