Hopkins plays by rules in basketball tournament win, and makes new enemies for doing so

The name of the game in the Minnesota State High School League basketball tournament is winning, so is it a problem if a team exploits the rules and wins in a way that doesn’t seem quite right?

The Hopkins boy’s team last night defeated Shakopee 49-to-46 in four overtimes. If that score seems low, remember there’s no shot clock in high school basketball, so much of the overtime looked like this.

Hopkins held the ball in overtime, then shot as time ran out. The strategy, especially with Shakopee refusing to defend the man holding the ball, allowed Hopkins to either shoot for a win or go to another overtime.


At the end, Hopkins heaved a desperation shot as time ran out.

And now will play for the state championship.

How ugly was it? No points were scored in the first overtime

Here’s the entire play by play for the first overtime (courtesy Minnesota State High School League):

HOME TEAM: Shakopee TIME SCORE MAR VISITORS: Hopkins
BLOCK by Maiers, Jake 00:03 MISSED JUMPER by Sharp, Stephon
00:03 REBOUND (OFF) by Chambers, Kamali
00:01 MISSED 3 PTR by Chambers, Kamali
REBOUND (DEF) by (TEAM) 00:00

And here’s the exciting fourth overtime:

HOME TEAM: Shakopee TIME SCORE
00:06 TURNOVR by Wright, Jacob
TIMEOUT TEAM 00:06
TIMEOUT TEAM 00:06
TURNOVR by Mitchell, Steffon 00:02 STEAL by Chambers, Kamali
00:02 TIMEOUT 30sec
00:02 46-49 GOOD! 3 PTR by Coffey, Amir

At one point in the game, Shakopee didn’t attempt a shot for 10 minutes.

The fans were not impressed:

  • Jack

    Just a reminder that the shot clock started due to the Lakers when they were playing in Minnesota.

    Just saying.

    • Someone pointed out — accurately — that many of the scores in yesterday’s games were in the 80s and 90s, with no shot clock.

    • Every team played that way back then. The Lakers were simply the team that won 5 titles in 6 years.

      Just saying.

  • MrE85

    The Fond du Lac win was as big deal, too. Tiny reservation school team cheered on by audience who had never seen the Ogichidaag (Warriors) play before — it was the school’s first trip to the tournament. They beat Canby in a 3-OT thriller.

    Or, you could just read Bob’s earlier post on the team, which I just did.

    • And don’t forget Red Lake was at the tournament in Class A for the first time in many years. Sadly, they lost yesterday. Let’s go Ogichidaag!

  • jon
  • Why not blame Shakopee for not getting out of their zone defense and playing defense?

    • MrE85

      Reminds me of that great line from “Hoosiers.”

      “We trust that you’re a fine upstanding God-fearing man with Christian morals and principles who will set an example and a standard of leadership for our boys. Tell me, do you believe in a man-to-man or a zone defense?”

    • 59underground

      Good question.
      #wcco

  • marketer

    Complain all you want. Basketball is a game of strategy, and Hopkins did what they had to. Dean Smith at NC made it an art form.

  • mnanimator

    Perfect example of spirit of the law and the letter of the law. I think it just shows there absolutely must be a shot clock because otherwise this kind of nonsense ensues.

    • or a rule that makes you play defense.

      • mnanimator

        Or that, yes. Is there such a rule in NCAA or NBA?

        • There’s a 5 second rule when someone is actually playing defense- to stop the offense from holding the ball.

          In the NBA, zone defense was allowed, banned, and that latest iteration allows it but defenders are only allowed to be in the lane for 3 seconds, which makes it harder to play a pure zone.

          • mnanimator

            Then it sounds like there were options to keep things moving along, and everyone just chose not to.

  • Vince Tuss

    I think you can play that way but fans also have the perfect right to complain and clamor for the rule to be changed. Why not win the tip and play for the last shot then?

  • John

    Why didn’t the defense guard him and force a 5 second call? Sounds like both teams wanted to play like this.

  • Chris B. Critter

    That’s right, Jason. All Shakopee had to do was to challenge the Hopkins players who had the ball. IIRC, if someone with the ball is closely guarded near the time line (within the short hash marks on either side of the line), you have 5 seconds to get rid of the ball, if the coverage sticks. If you’re covered for 4 seconds, and the defender goes away, then comes back, you get another 5 seconds to get rid of the ball (shoot or pass).

    • Chris B. Critter

      From the Shakopee coach: “I’ve said for 10 years that we need a shot clock. But we weren’t coming out of that zone. We hadn’t played one minute of man-to-man. Why would we do it then?”

      Because the zone wasn’t working? True, Hopkins wasn’t scoring, but neither were you.

      • And they probably could’ve played it tighter than usual. I can’t imagine Hopkins was going to get much from the refs.

  • MikeB

    The Hopkins coach demonstrated his lack of confidence in their offense.

    I’m sure those kids really appreciated all the time and effort they’ve put into their game put to good use by standing, not playing.

  • Jim G

    Having taught in both districts, I was bound to have conflicting emotions over the conclusion of the Shakopee and Hopkins game. Firstly, Shakopee played a great game concluding an exciting season. Congratulations, Sabers, on your great season this year. For dinner last night, I prepared sweet and sour chicken; watching this game I realized how prophetic the meal selection was.

  • This is essentially how Northwestern Men’s Basketball played during the Bill Carmody era. Except instead of holding the ball indefinitely, they would run dribble hand-offs at halfcourt for :34 seconds and then chuck a desperation shot. I wasn’t a big fan of the Northwestern Men’s Basketball team.

  • Jeff

    I think people should be disappointed by the Shakopee coach, not the Hopkins team. Why shouldn’t Hopkins not take advantage of Shakopee’s reluctance to play? A ball in the hand is worth two in the other team’s basket.

  • Thomas R

    The strategy by the Hopkins coach was sound. If you have the opportunity to give your team the final shot in a tie game, you should always do so. You either win or go to another overtime. Shakopee needed to defend the ball and attempt to force a 5-second call. Even a token bit of ball pressure would’ve taken Hopkins out of their stall. Shakopee’s coach said he didn’t want to switch to man-to-man, that’s fine, then extend your zone… surely you must have some defense that extends to half court? A failure of coaching by the Shakopee head coach. He was being stubborn; his team had close to zero chance of winning using his strategy. The ending was a miracle shot, but had it missed, they would have just gone to another overtime (or 2, or 3…) and Hopkins would have won eventually on a last-second shot. Play the game as the rules are written not they way you wish they were.

    It was such a shame too because the Shakopee players played such a fine game and their own coach all but denied them an opportunity to play to win.

    • Gene

      Both coaches were at fault for not letting their talented teams play to the finish. I still favor the 30 second clock which would then force both teams to use a little more strategy. Great tournament so far.