Boys’ basketball upsets top-ranked Royals

David Nelson, Staff Writer

Only a season ago, the Benilde-St. Margaret’s boys’ basketball team was shell-shocked by the Hopkins Royals in a game that ended 99-65. With so many key players lost after last season, some students believed this game could be more of the same. They couldn’t have been more wrong.

The Haben Center was filled to capacity Friday night with a sea of screaming Red Knight fans, all of them hoping their team could pull off the impossible: beat the best team in the state. “Going into this game, we knew what to expect. We had a great practice the day before, and we felt prepared going into it,” said senior forward Sanjay Lumpkin.

The noise from the BSM fans was deafening when the Red Knights stepped on the court. The superfans helped give the underdog Red Knights an immediate edge. “The fans were great. When the crowd is that into it, it’s a great feeling and really helps carry the momentum,” said senior guard Isaiah Zierden.

The game began with missed shots from both teams until the Red Knights went on an 8-0 run that helped stabilize a lead that would last into the second half of the game. “Establishing the lead in the first half gave us a cushion going into the second. We came out of the gate ready to go and jumped out to an early lead,” said Lumpkin.

The Red Knights had superb passing and played great defense in the first half. “Those two things are usually the emphasis of every practice and every game. If we play lock-down D and play unselfishly, we can beat anyone,” said senior guard Will Dunn.

One of the key moments from the first half occurred with less than 10 seconds remaining on the clock. Zierden nailed a 3-pointer just as time expired in the first half, sending the Red Knight fans into a frenzy and giving the boys’ team a 12 point lead. “It was just another shot that I have worked on at least 100 times on that hoop. I didn’t even hear the Hopkins fans yelling because I was just focused on winning and making that shot,” said Zierden.

The second half began with a surge from Hopkins that helped them take their first lead of the game. Lead changes consistently happened afterwards until the final minute of the game, when Zierden was fouled with a one-point lead.

After hitting both free throws, Hopkins rushed down the court. They gave the ball to D1 commit Siyani Chambers who missed the three point attempt, the ball was rebounded by Dunn, and he was fouled immediately.

Dunn walked up to the line needing only one free throw to turn it into a two possession game and seal the game for BSM. “All I was thinking was, if I knock down the first free throw, that we were gonna win the game and beat Hopkins for the first time ever,” said Dunn.

He made the first and the Red Knight faithful knew immediately that it was over. As the final buzzer sounded, the BSM fans flooded the court in excitement. It was chaos as the mosh pit of red cheered a resounding “Red Knights, Red Knights.” The BSM fans, players, coaches, and parents celebrated this victory as what will surely be called the upset of the year.