A number of state high school basketball media members, and even coach Lance Johnson himself, declared the 2019-20 Minnehaha Academy team the best ever produced in Minnesota.
That team was denied what appeared to be an inevitable fourth consecutive state championship —and first in Class 3A after moving up from Class 2A — when the postseason ended prematurely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Senior Jalen Suggs graduated and left for Gonzaga, where he has helped the Bulldogs to the top spot in the Associated Press NCAA Division I men's basketball rankings.
But Suggs left plenty behind, including ESPN's most coveted prep recruit in 7-foot-1 senior Chet Holmgren, who scores at a clip of 21.2 points per game. And, once again, the No. 1-3A Redhawks have one of the state's great teams.
But that doesn't mean they are unbeatable.
IMG Academy, an elite college sports prep school out of Florida, beat the Redhawks 73-53 on Feb. 6. And even last year's anointed team lost to three Class 4A teams, including to Hopkins.
Minnehaha Academy (9-1) meets Hopkins (8-3) again on Wednesday.
The No. 3-4A Royals last played on Feb. 18 in a 62-61 defeat to Minnetonka. Four Hopkins players average double-digits scoring, led by Tristan Lee's 13.8 points a game.