HOPKINS, Mich. — After a buzzer-beater victory over Otsego in the district semifinal on Thursday night, Hopkins prepared for crosstown rival Wayland on Saturday.
The 375-person capacity crowd sold-out in nine minutes with a hostile environment at Hopkins high school as the Vikings jumped out to an early 12-2 lead in the opening minutes.
The Wildcats jumped back into the game in the second quarter with a big run to trail, 19-17 at the half.
In the second half, Wayland would take a seven point lead before Hopkins answered another Wildcat run.
In the fourth quarter, the Vikings would lead by as many as eight and go on to get the 51-49 win and the program's first district championship since 2002.
"With where we're at as a program, it just shows me progress," said head coach, Jake Jewett, "I'm incredibly proud of how far we've come in four years and we're not done yet."
Sophomore big man Tristen Perry led the Vikings with a game-high 23 points while senior Colin Weber added 13.
"We knew going into this game tonight that we would get Wayland's best shot and we got it," Jewett added, "they gave us all we could handle, but we were able to make enough plays to pull it out."
Last year, the Vikings won their first conference title in 23 years and now, it's their first district championship in 19.
"Having not won a district in 19 years, it takes that first group to get you back on the right track," said Jewett, "last year definitely played a role in what we accomplished tonight."
Hopkins will take on Parchment in the Benton Harbor regional on Tuesday at 5:00 PM.