Lost in the Eden Prairie High School boys basketball team’s 48-45 season-opening loss to No. 1-ranked Hopkins?
When the Eagles fell to the Royals on Friday, January 15, it snapped a stretch of nearly 22 months of winning basketball. Since losing to Lakeville North in the quarterfinal round of the 2019-20 state tournament, Eden Prairie rattled off 30 straight wins.
Note: The Covid-19 pandemic stopped last year’s campaign mid-postseason (Eden Prairie was preparing to play Shakopee in the Section 2-4A title game when the season ended).
“The loss wasn’t that significant,” said Eden Prairie Coach David Flom. “This year is so different. We return two players with varsity minutes (captains Will Foster and Cole Tiran).
“We went into Friday with no expectations,” added Flom. “We certainly didn’t expect to play Hopkins to a three-point game.”
Eden Prairie’s expectations graduated last summer.
“We graduated four 1,000-point scorers,” said the coach, of Drake Dobbs, Austin Andrews, Connor Christensen and John Henry. “No program has ever done that before.”
Other teams have had four 1,000-points scores, maybe, but never in the same class.
“Last year’s team didn’t get to play four more games,” said Flom, of the possibility of playing for a state title, “but we have perspective and we’re happy we got to do what we did in a year when Minnesota had so many good teams.”
What Eden Prairie did was beat all comers, including Minnehaha Academy, a group that was said to represent the best collection of talent in Minnesota, ever.
“In Jalen (Jalen Suggs) and Chet (Chet Holmgren), they had two players that have the potential to be back-to-back NBA lottery picks,” said Flom. “Not only did they have seven DI guys, but two guys who played on last year’s JV team have been offered by the Gophers.”
And Eden Prairie beat Minnehaha Academy at their place. The final score read 78-64.
“That solidified what we thought,” said Flom; “that we were the best team in the state.”
Note: Eden Prairie ended its season ranked No. 9 in the country.
Lost in the loss to Hopkins?
“We might be young, we might be small and we might be slow,” said Flom, of this year’s group, “but we’re going to play hard and we’re going to compete.”
The three-point loss to Hopkins proved that. Last Tuesday, Eden Prairie lost to Buffalo when the Bison hit a game-winning shot in the final seconds. Buffalo defeated Eden Prairie 66-65.
Thursday, Eden Prairie counted its first win of the season, beating Benilde-St. Margaret’s 67-34.
The Eagles return to action Tuesday, January 26, with an away game at Saint Michael-Albertville.