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Hopkins captures momentum from momentary glitch

By BRIAN STENSAAS, Star Tribune, 02/06/12, 11:35PM CST


The Royals bounced back after a technical foul to wrap up their 13th consecutive victory.

Momentum comes from a variety of sources.

Eight minutes into Monday's second half against Lake Conference rival Minnetonka, the Hopkins boys' basketball team was whistled for a technical foul for slapping the backboard.

The Skippers' ensuing two free throws cut the Royals' once-mountainous lead to five.

Players could have huffed, sulked or let the play otherwise negatively affect their play. Instead, it was a kick in the right direction.

With Siyani Chambers in the starring role as floor general, the Royals took command the rest of the way for a 94-76 home-court victory that sounds lopsided but was sealed with free throws down the stretch.

"We got unfocused, stopped playing defense, stopped rebounding and let them back into the game," said Chambers, who scored 16 of his game-high 25 points in the second half. "After the technical, we got back to those little things. We picked up the intensity and that's what pushed the lead back up."

Chambers stopped short of calling the play a turning point, much to the delight of his coach.

"It shouldn't have been," Ken Novak Jr. said. "We should be playing possession, not that. We were in a little more cruise-control [mode] than we should have been. If we stay that way and don't work at it, we'll get beat."

Not Monday, when the Class 4A, No. 2-ranked Royals (18-1) jumped out to an early 14-point lead thanks to the Skippers (14-5) putting more turnovers (three) than points (two) on the scoreboard.

Hopkins led by 10 at halftime, but the lead fizzled to half that before a three-pointer by Demitrius Martin got it back to double digits -- the Royals' first basket after the technical.

"That's basketball; a game of streaks," Novak said. "We have to get a lot better than we are. We had some slippage, and that can be dangerous."

Zach Stahl added 20 for the Royals, who won their 13th consecutive game since losing by five to Class 3A, No. 1 Benilde-St. Margaret's on Dec. 16. Hopkins has put up 90 or more points in nine of those victories.

Tommy McDermott finished with 21 for Minnetonka, which also got a strong 20-point effort from Riley Dearring before he fouled out with 1:53 to play.

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