Hopkins Captures 2012 HS Centrals Open Title

Posted: May 14, 2012 09:17 AM
Centrals, Day 1
16 High School teams from around the Midwest came to battle it out at the first ever High School Centrals tournament this past weekend in Naperville, Illinois.  Saturday pool play brought cloudy skies and scattered showers as teams fought for a chance at the championship bracket on Sunday.
At the end of the day, the number one seeds in pools B and D would earn an automatic spot into bracket play. The obvious front runner for pool B was Holy Family Catholic Revolution. Revolution proved dominance in their pool, letting up only nine points on the day in three games. With a strong line of handlers to push the team forward, Revolution ran through opposing defenses with patience and efficiency.  Pool D was arguably the most competitive pool, with all teams looking evenly matched. Como Park was seeded number one, and started out 2-0 squeaking out two wins over Jacobs and Neuqua-B at hard cap. However, Como crumbled hard against the number two seed in the pool, Minneapolis South. Como stopped taking care of the disc and Minneapolis capitalized on the increase in possessions.  
Pools A and C had obvious front runners in Hopkins and Neuqua Valley. Both teams displayed their skill making quick work of their pools, earning a chance to play each other in the crossover to determine seeding in bracket play. Neuqua proved they could play with Hopkins at past tournaments, losing only by a couple points in other encounters at Paideia Cup and Madison Mud Bath. Hopkins started the game very strong, making Neuqua pay for mistakes, going up 6-1. It was an uphill battle for Neuqua from then on. Although they fought with Hopkins to keep the deficit from growing, they didn’t have enough to close the gap. Both teams would still play in the championship bracket after winning their pools.
With all pools falling into initial seed after pool play, crossovers would be where teams would have to prove their skills. Cathedral's performance in pool play did not exactly demonstrate the skill they have on their team. A very strong line of handlers in the back carry the team with movement and patience. After a slow start, Cathedral was able to take the win over their crossover match with De Smet. Edina versus Jacobs would be a close match up, and a tough game for both team. Jacobs initially looked strong, led by Jan Szmanda and Tommy Gallagher, but after injuries forced Gallagher to sit, Edina was able to fight back and take the game with strong leadership from Matt Rock and Ian Andre-Knudsen. Memorial was able to pull off the upset over Como Park, with Como following the day’s trend of turnovers and poor decisions. Ames came out strong against St. Paul after a less than impressive pool play performance. Both teams made their opposition work for hard points, but the St. Paul crew was able to squeeze out the victory led by a very strong handler in Harper Garvey.
Centrals, Day 2

The story of bracket play revolved around three teams, Neuqua Valley, Hopkins, and Holy Family Catholic. Hopkins was expected to win their side of the bracket, with the big game being the semifainals against Neuqua and Revolution.
Quarter finals went according to plan for the big three. Neuqua looked very strong against Memorial, making very few mistakes and making Memorial pay for every one of theirs. Edina showed a lot of heart against Hopkins, making them work for every point and fighting hard on offense. However, when it was all said and done, Hopkins efficient offense and physically dominant defense gave them the win. Cathedral High School gave Revolution a run for their money. Cathedral showed strong offense against the zone of Holy Family, and fought very hard on defense to make Revolution earn their points. Revolution started to pull away after halftime, widening the lead they had and taking the game. The game to watch in quarters was St. Paul versus Minneapolis South.  St. Paul played a very effective zone which forced turns and allowed their offense to work, but Minneapolis was able to work through it and keep the game close. Minneapolis began to slow down later in the game, giving St. Paul more opportunities on offense, allowing them to pull away and win the game.
In the semifinals it was Hopkins/St. Paul and Neuqua Valley/Holy Family Catholic. The Hopkins and St. Paul game looked to be tight at first, but it was clear the Hopkins was physically dominant. Hopkins went on to score seven in a row while St. Paul was unable to answer any of them. Hopkins took the decisive victory and earned a spot in the finals.
On the other side of the bracket, a heated battle was beginning between Neuqua Nightmare and Holy Family Revolution.  The two teams started off trading points. Both teams looked strong working through opposing zones. Nightmare began to falter, making some questionable decisions on offense, giving Revolution chances to take a lead. Revolution took advantage of this and went up at half by four. The wind picked up at half making it a clear upwind, downwind game. The teams traded downwind points out of half until Neuqua finally got the upwind break they were looking for to make the score 9-11 Revolution leading. Neuqua showed a very solid upwind game, managing to bring the game to universe point at 12-12, Neuqua with the downwind advantage. After a few attempts by both team to put the disc in the big box, Revolution managed to score upwind for the win.
Hopkins High School
2012 HS Centrals Champions
The top two teams, Hopkins and Revolution, saw each other three times this season, Hopkins won two of those matchups so both teams had something to prove in the finals.
Hopkins started very strong, going up 4-0 to begin. Hopkins played excellent defense, forcing a lot of turns by Revolution.
Hopkins stayed strong against Revolution who appeared to be physically drained from their battle in semis. Hopkins never let up, dominating the game physically and mentally. There is no doubt that Revolution’s 11 man lineup could not keep up with Hopkins very deep team.
Day 1 Photos by UltiPhotos.com

Day 2 Photos by UltiPhotos.com


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