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Small-ball gets job done for No. 2 Hopkins

By Shane Koob, Sport Ngin, 02/07/14, 2:30PM CST


Guard-heavy Royals' lineup shoots its way past No. 5 Eden Prairie

Hopkins' Kamali Chambers (2) scores during the first half despite Eden Prairie's Zach Hovey's (41) best efforts. Photo by Katherine Matthews

For second-ranked Hopkins, this season has been all about setting the tempo, and the Royals have made some sweet music on the offensive side of the court, averaging almost 90 points per game.

Friday night against No. 5 Eden Prairie was no different, as the Royals cruised to an 85-73 victory behind 19 points from senior guard Jake Wright.

And 15 points from senior guard Kamali Chambers. Fellow seniors Stephon Sharp and Treyvon Edwards each added 14 points, too.

What makes the Hopkins offense so potent?

"We're just trying to find every way we can attack, that's what it's really about," Wright, a Citadel commit, said. 

Attack, the Royals did. After missing their first three shots, the Hopkins offense exploded after an Amir Coffey (6 points) steal and two-handed slam put the first points of the game on the board and excited the home crowd. 

The first half was all Wright, as he amassed 15 points, hitting from every spot on the floor, to give the Royals a 48-34 halftime advantage.

The Eagles (15-5) weren't going to go down so easily, and in the second half they began to utilize big men Zach Hovey (6-foot-5) and Aaron Workin (6-foot-9) to try and muscle Hopkins' five-guard lineup. Not to mention Andre Wallace nailing jumpers at a consistent pace (he finished with a game-high 21 points).

Eden Prairie, down by double digits most of the game, climbed to within five points with 6 minutes left, but big second-half contributions from Edwards and junior John Warren (11 points) maintained the lead for Hopkins (20-1) to secure its 20th win of the season.

It seems anyone on the Hopkins roster can score at will.

"I think we have a lot of guys who can do a little bit of everything," Hopkins head coach Ken Novak Jr. said. "No one is a post. We've got five guards and they all can shoot it, they all can put it on the floor and get to the basket and they pass the ball pretty well, so you have to guard everybody."

Wright pointed out that sometimes the energy on defense can lag a bit behind such a high-powered offense, which can lead to runs like the Eagles made in the second half. 

But he biggest key to Hopkins' success so far this season? Fearlessness.

"We're not afraid to shoot it. We let 'er go," Novak Jr. said. "We really predicate things on attacking: if you've got a shot, you let it fly."


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