Ken Novak Jr

Ken Novak Jr. stops for a photo after being walked off the floor with a standing ovation after he recorded career win No. 900 over a 39-year career at Hopkins.

Ken Novak Jr. reacted exactly the way you'd expect the 39-year veteran boys basketball coach at Hopkins High School would.

Tuesday's victory brought out a high five to one player, then Novak started picking up empty plastic water bottles. It felt like any other win for Novak, deflecting the moment onto his team.

But it wasn't any win, it was No. 900. A milestone reached by just three coaches in state basketball history.

Novak joins incredible company. The late Chisholm's Bob McDonald leads the way with 1,012 career wins, while Rocori's Bob Brink amassed 936 victories. McDonald's grandson, Brock Tesdahl, is a part of Novak's coaching staff.

Novak has led Hopkins to eight Class 4A state titles since 2002, including a championship win in 2019.

No. 900 was in doubt for much of the second half, fifth-ranked Chaska leading by as many as six points.

Following two Jack Frick free throws with 57.8 seconds left, the Hawks leading 50-47, a loose ball off a Tristan Lee miss led to an Elvis Nnaji offensive rebound and a game-tying Jaelen Treml 3-pointer.

Chaska's final possession ended in a Hopkins deflection out-of-bounds, with no final shot attempted.

Third-ranked Hopkins outscored the Hawks 9-4 in overtime, getting four free throws from Jarrett Brenlynd to help seal the win.

Chaska fell behind 11-2 and 22-14 in the first half, but each time rallied, first tying the game at 14 and then taking the lead at 26-25. It was 32-27 Chaska at halftime on five team 3-pointers from four different shooters.

Spencer Goetz, who scored a game-high 17 points, netted 10 in the first half. The Hawks senior had just as many hustle plays, steals, tie-ups, offensive rebounds. A 3-point play from the fourth-year varsity member put Chaska up 48-44 late in regulation.

Chaska, though, struggled to consistently find offense down the stretch after Tennessee Fossen and Luke Strazzanti combined for a trio of 3-pointers early in the second half.

The Hawks finished with just five fields goals in the second half, a total of 18 points. Strazzanti (10 points), Frick (eight), Brady Nicholson (eight), Fossen (six), and Jakobe Lyles (five) added to the scoresheet for Chaska (5-1).

Lee and Treml scored 14 and 13 points, respectively, to lead Hopkins, which saw 6'9" Nnaji hampered in foul trouble in the second half. Nnaji and Xavier White were held to seven and five points for Hopkins.

Metro West Conference leaders Chaska and Bloomington Jefferson meet at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 5 in Bloomington. The Jaguars are undefeated on the season at 4-0.

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