The question was posed following last Tuesday’s 81-75 win over No. 5-ranked Hopkins: When was the last time Eden Prairie swept Hopkins?
“I can comfortably say never,” said David Flom, head coach of the No. 1-ranked Eden Prairie High School boys basketball team. “It hasn’t happened since we joined conferences (Hopkins, Edina, Minnetonka and Wayzata were placed into what would become the five-team Lake Conference in 2009). Before that, I don’t think they ever played more than once a season.”
On Tuesday, Eden Prairie led Hopkins 37-36 at halftime.
“They’re a really good team,” said Flom. “They’re intense and they’re physical.”
They’re led by Kerwin Walton, one of the best players in the state.
The second half of Tuesday’s game was just as close as the first.
“We extended our lead to seven when Drake (Drake Dobbs) hit a three and was fouled,” said Flom. “That happened with four-to five minutes left.”
Eden Prairie iced its victory at the free throw line.
Dobbs paced Eden Prairie with 32 points. John Henry added 21, Austin Andrews 17.
Walton led Hopkins with 38 points.
The victory lifted Eden Prairie’s overall record to 22-0, 10-0 in the Lake Conference.
On Friday, Eden Prairie would travel to Buffalo.
Next Tuesday, the Eagles play at Minnehaha Academy, a team penned as the best team to ever play in Minnesota.
When asked about motivation for Friday’s game, Flom reminded his players of the first Eden Prairie vs. Buffalo game.
“Someone tweeted that Buffalo played right with Eden Prairie,” said Flom.
Buffalo outscored Eden Prairie 42-40 in the second half of the first meeting, but Eden Prairie won going away, 89-74.
On Friday, Eden Prairie won 79-54. The Eagles led 43-24 at halftime.
Andrews led Eden Prairie with 20 points. Miles Frisch and Connor Christensen added 15 points apiece, Dobbs and Henry 11 each.
On Tuesday, Eden Prairie was scheduled to travel to Minnehaha Academy.
“There’s more hype for Tuesday’s game than any game I’ve been a part of,” said Flom. “The crowd will be bigger than last year’s section finals.”
When asked about Minnehaha’s “best team ever” designation, the coach talked of their talent.
“They have two projected NBA lottery picks,” he said. “Jalen Suggs is the No. 6-ranked senior in the country. Chet Holmgren is the No, 2-ranked junior. They’ve got a sophomore (Prince Aligbe) ranked in the Top-25. They’ve got DI guys up and down their lineup.”
At 19-2, Minnehaha also has two losses. They lost to Cretin-Derham Hall in the second game of the season and they lost to Hopkins.
“They had three guys missing in the Hopkins game, including Holmgren,” said Flom. “He’s a difference maker, as he changes every shot.”
“The reason we have a chance to beat them,” added Flom, “is because we make good decisions.”
On Friday, Eden Prairie travels to Saint Michael-Albertville. The Eagles end regular-season play a week later with an away game at Minnetonka.