Blake Hoffarber now has company in Hopkins High School boys basketball lore for stunning, buzzer-beating shots.
Sophomore forward Amir Coffey launched a shot from a step beyond midcourt with virtually no time remaining, a desperation heave that feathered through the net to give the Royals a remarkable 49-46 victory over Shakopee in four overtimes in the Class 4A semifinals of the boys basketball state tournament Thursday night at Target Center.
The victory propels the top-seeded Royals (30-1) into the big-school championship game for the fourth time since 2009, the first year of a three-title run. Hopkins also won championships in 2002, ’05 and ’06.
In the 2005 big-school title game, Hoffarber was a national sensation, winning an ESPY for making an 18-foot shot while on his backside to force a second overtime against Eastview.
A fifth overtime seemed probable when the Royals took possession of the ball with 2.2 seconds left and 94 feet of hardwood floor to travel.
Coffey, a 6-foot-6 son of former Minnesota Gopher and Minnesota Timberwolf Richard Coffey, caught the inbounds pass and had a running start before launching a shot skyward. When the ball went through the net, the Hopkins bench and sideline erupted.
The officials initially wiped out the shot, saying it came after time elapsed. But after taking a looking on video replay, the basket was allowed.
“That was close to the Hoffarber play a few years back, man,” said Hopkins coach Kenny Novak Jr., Hoffarber’s uncle. “He got rid of that thing. That is basketball.”
Coffey, who was 2 of 10 from the field, said he had a split-second to line up his shot.
“There is not much you can do with a halfcourt shot,” he said. “You have to throw it up and hope for a prayer. I just heaved it up and hoped to God it would go in.”
Hopkins point guard Kamail Chambers watched in amazement as Coffey’s shot sailed about 60 feet.
“It was in slow motion,” he said. “When it was halfway, I remember thinking, it has a chance. When it did go in, I asked myself, ‘Did that really go in?’ It was a great shot at a great time.”
For Shakopee coach Bruce Kugath, it was a premonition that came true.
“I had this funny thought in my head,” he said. “We have shut them down in four overtimes. It is probably going to end with a guy hitting one from three-quarters court.”
For the majority of the four overtimes there was plenty of standing around, mostly by Hopkins.
When the Royals won the taps to start the extra sessions, Chambers stood near midcourt, holding the ball as the clocked drained and with the Sabers unwilling to take a chance at fouling or getting in a running game with fleet-footed Hopkins.
Jake Wright led the Royals with 23 points and John Warren added 14, including a three-pointer that forced the fourth overtime.
Tyler Weiss scored 19 points for Shakopee (23-7) and Jake Meiers had an outstanding block when he powerfully swatted away a shot by Chambers on the final play of the first overtime.
Amir Coffey’s miracle shot lifts Hopkins in state basketball – Pioneer Press