John Warren (3), Simon Wright (2), Xavier Johnson (1), Vinnie Shahid (14) and Graham Hustson (10) wait to have their names called during introductions prior to the Royals' game at Shakopee on Dec. 4. Photo by Nick Wosika
Hopkins made an impressive recovery after losing its leading scorer.
Amir Coffey suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury to his left knee in the Royals' 89-69 victory over Burnsville on Dec. 2, ending the season of Hopkins’ 6-foot-7 junior swingman.
The Royals lost their next two games without Coffey but bounced back to win 17 of their last 18 games. Hopkins is on a 15-game winning streak that includes victories in all six of its Lake Conference opponents.
The Royals (19-4, 6-0), ranked No. 4 in Class 4A by Minnesota Basketball News, could have faltered after losing Coffey. However, they are atop the conference standings and in position to not only clinch the league crown but also solidify the top seed in the Section 6 playoffs with a victories over No. 10-4A Minnetonka on Feb. 17 and No. 5-4A Eden Prairie on Feb. 20.
The Eagles are the league's second-place team and stayed in the hunt for a title by losing only one conference game: a 75-67 defeat at Hopkins on Jan. 16.
A victory over Edina on Feb. 17 would give Eden Prairie (21-3, 5-1) the chance to avenge the loss and earn a share of the league title in the regular-season finale with Hopkins. Eden Prairie shared its last league championship (2010-11) with the Royals.
But the Eagles have even more riding on the matchup. Eden Prairie is 4-1 against section foes and could make the seeding process interesting by defeating a Hopkins team that is 4-0 against section rivals.
This matchup featuring the Royals and the Eagles may be the best of our featured games this season and is our pick for the Top Game of the Week.
Tab over to see details on each game.
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