Hopkins forward Xavier White (13) blocked a shot by Cooper forward David Connors (4) in the first half. Photo: RENEE JONES SCHNEIDER ¥ email@example.com
Hopkins’ Kerwin Walton doesn’t leave practice until he takes 100 free throws.
It paid off as the senior guard went 10-for-10 at the free-throw line in the Royals’ 71-60 victory over Cooper on Wednesday in the Class 4A, Section 6 title game in Osseo.
“It determines whether or not you lose a game,” said Walton, who had a team-high 16 points. “You’ve got to hit free throws.”
Second-seeded Cooper (19-6) was less successful, making 14 of 28 free throws, undermining its effort to unseat the defending state champions. The Hawks sported underdog warm-up shirts that stated, “Cooper versus everyone.”
“We’re confident. We could have done it,” said sophomore guard Davion Evans, who led the Hawks with 20 points and helped Cooper whittle double-digit Hopkins leads to a basket twice in the second half.
Cooper jumped out to a 7-0 lead against defending state champion Hopkins, but the Royals responded and squelched the Hawks' upset bid with a 71-60 victory to win the Class 4A, Section 6 championship Wednesday at Osseo High School.
After Hawks junior guard Broderick Powell Jr. scored four of his team's seven points in the opening run, Hopkins stormed back with a 9-2 run, tying the game with junior forward Andre Gray’s rebound and put back. Gray had nine points.
The Royals (24-5) grabbed the lead on a Cornell Richardson layup and stayed ahead for most of the half. The senior guard also hit a three-pointer and a basket to help push the lead to 25-14.
Cooper (19-6) attacked the basket often, but Hopkins junior forward Xavier White tallied four blocks to keep the Hawks in check. White scored his first basket of the game late in the second half to give the Royals a 51-42 lead after the Hawks pulled within a basket. He added a dunk in the final minute to make it 67-55.
Powell finished with nine points for the Hawks.
Check back later for more on the game.