girls basketball coach Brian Cosgriff has seen more then a few good players comes through the doors in his 14 seasons as the head of one of the best teams—not only in Minnesota, but in the country.
Even among that elite group, though, Royals starting center Gracia Hutson stands out.
“Gracia is the best defensive post player I have ever coached,” Cosgriff said.
“I love playing defense”, the second-year starter said. “You can’t be lazy and play good defense. You have to work at it and learn that one of the keys is to use your feet and not your hands.”
The 6 foot, 2 inch Hutson was good enough last season to be named to the all-tournament team when under Cosgriff.
“Gracia isn’t the most athletic girl we’ve ever had here, but no one plays with more determination and heart.” Cosgriff said. “She’s the kind of player who will just get better, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her selected as a captain for Vermont her senior year.”
Hutson lives in Minnetonka and has played basketball since third grade. She joined Hopkins’ varsity team as a freshman and today is one of only four seniors on the state’s No. 1-ranked team. Sydney Coffey is the only other senior starter for the Royals.
Before the 2011-12 season got underway, that Hutson was one of three players who had to step up their game in order for the Royals to remain at the top.
She’s done just that. Never known as a prolific scorer, she has more than made up for it with 55 rebounds, 18 steals and six blocked shots through the first nine games of the year. She also had only 14 personal fouls, which is excellent for someone who plays a position where there is a lot of congestion and loose balls.
“You have to realize she, like most of our starters, hasn’t played that much because, except for the Lakeville North game, we have won by such large margins that we are playing a lot of kids,” Cosgriff said. “Regardless, she has been a big factor in our success so far.”