The Eden Prairie girls’ basketball team conquered quite the challenge on Saturday as the Eagles defeated rival Minnetonka in the Section 2AAAA tournament semifinals.
However, the news got even better. Public address announcer Jane Voss reported to all inside the EPHS main gym that top-seeded Chaska fell to Shakopee. That meant not only that EP was onto the section final but got to stay home and host the Sabers on Friday.
All of that led to an excited group of Eagles following a hard-fought, 59-50 win over the Skippers.
EP entered the section tournament as the No. 2 seed in the section and No. 2 team in the final Class 4A Minnesota Basketball News rankings. Minnetonka, the No. 3 seed, wasn’t far behind at No. 4 in the rankings. Though they were close in the rankings, the Eagles had handled the Skippers and won each of their two regular-season meetings.
In the early goings, defense was the story as both sides had crowds full of people cheering on each defensive stop. Eventually, EP hit some big 3-pointers thanks to Myra Moorjani. She helped the Eagles jump out to an 18-8 lead.
Minnetonka turned things around and even held a lead late in the first half as large as 4. EP rallied, however, rattling off four quick points at the end of the half to tie things up at 27.
The Eagles came out in the second half in an aggressive fashion. Their full-court pressure flustered the Skippers. That led to EP’s lead eclipsing 10 points during the half.
Though Minnetonka pushed things to single digits, the Eagles held on thanks to some big free throws. That included Annika Anderson. She found herself the EP player most likely to shoot free throws as the Skippers fouled to keep the game alive. She finished the game with 10 points.
Anderson was one of four Eagles in double figures. Savanna Jones led the way with 15 points. Moorjani finished with 12, while senior forward Nia Holloway finished with 11.
While the end of the game led to quite the celebration on the EP side, plenty of wows were uttered in the crowd when Voss said the Eagles were hosting the section title game as Chaska, the defending Class 4A champs that defeated EP earlier this season, were eliminated in a 59-48 loss.
Now, the Eagles look forward to a section final tilt with the Sabers. EP is looking for its first state tournament appearance since 2020.