About one year ago, Eden Prairie boys’ basketball coach David Flom and his team gathered at Eden Prairie High School to celebrate their undefeated 2019-20 season that was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fast forward one year later, and once again Flom and that group of players are once again celebrating a historic season. This time, it will be for the whole state to enjoy. The 2019-20 Eden Prairie boys’ basketball is the subject of a new documentary titled “The Perfect Season: Interrupted.” The 30-minute film debuts on FOX Sports North on March 26.
Before the tip-off of the first game of the 2019-20 season, it was safe to say expectations were high for the Eagles. They returned four starters who had all played together for multiple seasons and had made the state tournament twice.
Knowing the talent Eden Prairie possessed, Flom and the Eagle staff put their team through an incredibly tough schedule, playing just about every highly-regarded team in the state.
Throughout the season, the wins kept piling up. Eden Prairie picked up wins against top opponents such as Park Center, Hopkins and Prior Lake.
The big test
The biggest test, however, came on Feb. 18, 2020. The Eagles went on the road to face Minnehaha Academy. Though the Redhawks were playing in a class below Eden Prairie, Minnehaha Academy had been deemed by some as the greatest team in Minnesota high school basketball history.
The Redhawks were led by Jalen Suggs, a top recruit who is currently leading top-seeded Gonzaga in this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Besides Suggs, there was also Chet Holmgren. The seven-footer is currently a senior at Minnehaha Academy and is considered one of the top high school basketball recruits in the entire country.
Despite falling behind early, the Eagles passed this monumental challenge with flying colors. Playing in front of a sold-out crowd, Eden Prairie finished the game on a 30-7 run and topped Minnehaha Academy, 78-64.
From there, things just kept rolling for the Eagles. They went into Section 2AAAA play as a heavy favorite. In the semifinals, Eden Prairie rolled past Prior Lake and was poised to take on Shakopee in the section final.
The COVID close down
Then, everything changed. The news was soon sent down from the Minnesota State High School League notifying teams that the boys’ basketball season was officially done due to COVID-19. Suddenly, the Eagles chances at the school’s first state championship were gone. And it was out of their hands.
The team, understandably saddened by the decision, gathered in its home gym to cut down the nets and celebrate its undefeated season that ended too soon.
During his years leading Eden Prairie, Flom had developed a relationship with Kevin Lynch, a former Mr. Basketball winner at Bloomington Jefferson who starred for the University of Minnesota. Lynch is currently a Timberwolves analyst for FOX Sports North.
With their budding friendship, Lynch became a follower of the team. After the heartbreaking end to the 2019-20 season, talk of telling the story of this season via a documentary started to happen.
The film idea
“(Lynch) brought the idea to me,” Lynch said. “They had done something similar with Bloomington Jefferson. He wanted to do something as a keepsake for this season and put it forth.”
From there, Lynch used his connections at FSN and production started on this film. A group of producers worked with the team and PrepSpotlight.TV to gather footage of the season.
Then, the crew gathered Flom, assistant coach Nick Ravn and the team’s four start seniors — Drake Dobbs, Austin Andrews, John Henry and Connor Christensen — to chat for the film. This all happened when the players were home on Winter break.
Since their senior seasons came to a close, all four have gone on to college careers. Dobbs helped Liberty to this year’s NCAA basketball tournament. Andrews starred at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and was named the Northern Sun Conference’s freshman of the year.
The other two seniors – Henry and Christenson — are playing collegiate basketball at the University of Sioux Falls and Dartmouth, respectively.
The documentary will air on FOX Sports North for a total of 14 times during the next few weeks. After that, the film will live online forever. When the documentary makes it debut, it will be the first time Flom and the rest of the program get to see the film about the team that was so memorable to them and all involved.
“Just to have it commemorated and be remembered is great,” Flom said. “I think it’s gonna be a pretty cool thing.”
Editor’s note: Ryan Williamson is a reporter with Fox Sports, but was not associated with the Eden Prairie hockey team film project.