Hopkins' Zeke Nnaji (22) was fouled by Wayzata's Carter Bjerke (32) while driving to the basket in the first half. Also in on the play was Wayzata's Eddie Beeninga (5). Photo: JEFF WHEELER • firstname.lastname@example.org
Hopkins forward Zeke Nnaji had scored 20 points in all but five games this year heading into Wednesday’s matchup against Wayzata.
The 6-11, Arizona-bound senior scored 29 points as the Royals (24-4) defeated the Trojans 82-71 in the Class 4A, Section 6 championship game at Osseo High School.
Nnaji had 17 points in the second half, despite constant double-teams from the Trojans, to lead Hopkins to its first state tournament berth since 2016.
“He’s probably as versatile as a player as you’re going to see,” Hopkins coach Ken Novak Jr. said. “He’s a top player in the country, so we kind of expected that out of him.”
Nnaji said losses to Wayzata in the 2017 and 2018 Section 6 championship games served as motivation for his team. He said he had expected double-teams from the Trojans and that he looked to pass to teammates cutting to the basket or to make a quick move before the double-team arrived.
Zeke Nnaji scored 29 points and Kerwin Walton added 25 as Hopkins defeated Wayzata 82-71 in the Class 4A, Section 6 championship game at Osseo High School.
The 6-11, University of Arizona-bound Nnaji scored 17 points in the second half at Osseo High School, as Hopkins (24-4) stretched its lead to as much as 20 points. Walton hit five three-pointers in the first half to help the Royals build an 11-point lead at halftime.
Senior guard Jacob Beeninga led the Trojans (19-10) with 29 points, including 22 in the second half, to cap his career as Wayzata's all-time leading scorer. Freshman Camden Heide added 18 for Wayzata, which had defeated Hopkins in the previous two section finals.
Check back later for more on the game.