Panthers fall in state title game

A 15-point run from Hopkins gave the Royals their first state title in five years

After Lakeville North’s tourney run in which they upset two teams, one of them undefeated, the North boys’ basketball team fell to Hopkins on Saturday, 64-55.

The Panthers had a good first half as the game was tied 23-23, and then they came out fast in the second when they hit a few threes to go up by five. It only went downhill from there as Hopkins went on a 15-point run that would eventually be too much for Lakeville North to overcome.

“They’re a very talented team,” said Panthers’ coach John Oxton after the game.

The past two years, Lakeville North had beaten Hopkins in the state tourney, last year in the quarterfinals and two years ago in the state championship. The Hopkins coach Ken Novak Jr. said those games were running through his head during the game. This year Hopkins finally got its revenge. Minnesota commit Amir Coffey, who had 19 points, led the Royals to victory.

“I tried to do the best of my ability to (defend Coffey), but he’s a very good player,” said Carter Brooks.

Defending Coffey had also gotten Brooks into foul trouble, which then led to Hopkins big 15-point run.

“I’m just very proud of them, I thought they had a great year, and it always hurts to lose a championship game, but they’re still winners in my book,” said Oxton.