With the girls basketball section playoffs on the horizon, Eden Prairie senior captain Molly Lenz had something she wanted to take care of on Friday night.
“It feels great to get it done before sections,” she said. “Because it’s not going to be in the back of my mind. Now I can just completely focus on winning those games. So that feels good.”
Entering the Eagles’ regular-season finale at Edina, Lenz needed 17 points to reach 1000 points in her Eden Prairie career.
With 8:05 remaining in the second half, Lenz broke loose at mid-court, running toward the hoop. The anticipation surged as teammates and fans rose to their feet. Lenz completed a layup, shattering the 1000-point barrier, adding to a staggering total that began when Lenz was playing as an eighth-grader.
“Molly scoring her 1,000th was super special,” Eagles head coach Ellen Wiese said. “She’s been a phenomenal ambassador to everything that is good about the Eden Prairie program. She’s just a phenomenal mentor, phenomenal leader. Everybody just looks up to her and admires her, including myself. So that was really special to get that tonight.”
Everyone on the Eden Prairie bench knew exactly how close Lenz was to the milestone number. After she raced to the basket and reached the historic mark, every player ran onto the court to mob Lenz, surrounding her with one giant hug.
“That was all spontaneous,” Wiese said. “I didn’t know all the kids knew. I was just gonna call a timeout after she did it, but the kids got a hold of it on the bench.
“That shows what the kids feel about her. There’s no selfishness, no jealousy. They’re just genuinely happy for one of their senior captains being able to accomplish that. So it was cool.”
The game was stopped as PA announcer Jane Voss, who fittingly is also the voice of Eden Prairie girls basketball, called out Lenz’s accomplishment.
“It feels great,” Lenz said after the game. “It’s been a goal for my whole high school career so it feels really good to check that off.”
The moment was a source of pride for teammates as well, none more than forward Kylie Bamlett, a longtime teammate of Lenz and fellow senior captain.
“I’m so proud of her,” Bamlett said. “Getting to play with her for four years has been such a blessing, and also getting to be a captain with her. She’s literally the best person on and off the court. She’s awesome, and I’m so proud of her for getting to this amazing milestone that not that many people can say they did, so that’s really cool.
Lenz led all scorers with 20 points on the night, shooting 8-of-11 from the field, including 4-of-6 from three-point range.
Eagles senior guard Annika Anderson followed up Lenz with 12 points, shooting 6-for-9 from the field.
Sophomore guard Rae Erhmann added nine points, while senior guard Ashley Fritz posted eight points to go with her team-leading eight rebounds.
With their runaway 71-31 victory over Edina, the Eagles close out the regular season with a 17-9 record and are ranked fifth in Class 4A.
“I’m feeling good. Tonight was good,” Lenz said. “This is the first time in my high school career that we’ve blown out Edina at Edina. Usually, we just have trouble here for some reason. So getting that for the first time ever feels really good. I think we’re playing well together. Everybody’s healthy. So I feel very confident going into sections.
Eagles and Hornets meet again in section playoffs
Eden Prairie moves on to the Section 2AAAA playoffs, where they have been designated as the No. 2 seed. The Eagles will play Edina once more in the opening round.
“We’ll have our first couple games at home for quarterfinals and semifinals, and hopefully the finals will be probably at Chaska,” Bamlett said. “We’re really looking forward to it. And we’re all really excited and we’re looking forward to putting in some work next week and starting off strong in sections.”
The quarterfinal game between the Eagles and Hornets is set for Wednesday in the main gym at Eden Prairie High School, with the opening tip at 7 p.m.
“We need to just be focused,” Wiese said. “Obviously, you’ve got to win to keep going. So that’s the only thing we can be focused on is how to beat the team in front of us.”
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