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Boys Basketball: Coffey brews Class AAAA championship for Hopkins

MINNEAPOLIS -- Amir Coffey finally has the one thing that was missing from his high school basketball r?sum?: a state title. Coffey scored a team-high 19 points and tacked on six rebounds and three assists to lead No. 2 Hopkins to a 64-55 victory...

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(John Autey | Pioneer Press) Hopkins’ Amir Coffey goes up strong to the basket against Lakeville North’s Nathan Reuvers during the first half of the Class AAAA championship game on Saturday.

MINNEAPOLIS - Amir Coffey finally has the one thing that was missing from his high school basketball résumé: a state title.

Coffey scored a team-high 19 points and tacked on six rebounds and three assists to lead No. 2 Hopkins to a 64-55 victory over No. 5 Lakeville North in the Class 4A title game at Target Center on Saturday night.

“I’ve wanted to do this for four years, ever since I started playing varsity,” Coffey said. “It’s a surreal feeling.”

The win avenges Hopkins’ 84-82 loss to Lakeville North in the 2014 title game, when the Panthers rallied in the game’s final minute. Coffey said this week that game still ate at him, robbing him of his best chance for a state title prior to this season.

The Panthers again didn’t make it easy on Saturday night. Lakeville North (26-6) was poised as always, precisely what you’d expect from a team making its third state title game appearance in five years.

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The Panthers, led by junior forward and Division I recruit Nathan Reuvers’ 16 points, went step for step with the Royals (31-1). The game was tied at 23 at half, and the Panthers led by as many as five in the second half, before Hopkins went on a 15-0 run to take control.

“One thing people always talk about with Hopkins, they’re very good at runs,” Lakeville North coach John Oxton said. “That was a great run. That put the game away.”

Lakeville North couldn’t find an answer for Coffey, the Gophers commit who was the catalyst for a Hopkins team that earned its title of best team in the state.

The versatile 6-foot-8 guard averaged 19 points per game this season while serving as a menace on the defensive end.  He was named to the Class 4A all-tournament team on Saturday night and is one of five Mr. Basketball finalists.

After the game, Hopkins coach Ken Novak Jr. told the television audience that he thinks Coffey is the best player in the state.

“He’s pretty tough, just because he’s so long and he’s got very good skill,” Panthers coach John Oxton said. “He’s a good athlete. He’s going to go play Division I basketball, and there’s a reason - he’s pretty dang good. He’s tough. He’s a good combination of a very long, talented, athletic kid. Those three things add up to make a guy a pretty good player.”

The Pioneer Press is a Forum News Service media partner.

 

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