Edina's Graham Woodward (3) drove to the basket as Andover's Connor Wilkie (24) defended in the teams' Class 4A quarterfinal game Wednesday at the Target Center. Photo: Rich Tsong-Taatarii * email@example.com
Wednesday marked Edina’s first trip to the state boys’ basketball tournament in 22 years and senior point guard Graham Woodward was determined to make the return memorable.
The Hornets’ opponent, Andover, made Woodward uneasy. The Huskies’ losing record made them easy to overlook. But a challenging schedule made Andover battle-tested.
Woodward, who signed with Penn State, said he wanted to embody Edina’s urgency. The No. 3 seed Hornets won 99-61 thanks to Woodward’s inspired performance. He scored 32 of his 40 points in the first half to energize favored Edina (23-7) and dispel any notion of an Andover (10-20) upset in Wednesday’s Class 4A state tournament quarterfinals at the Target Center.
“It’s important being able to run the show and have others involved,” Woodward said. “They look to me as a leader and that’s what I try to do.”
Showcasing his myriad basketball talents, Woodward hit a variety of shots and accelerated past overwhelmed Andover defenders.
“He’s a fantastic player,” said Huskies junior Connor Wilkie, who tied for the team lead with 13 points.
“He’s so quick and he’s got a good mid-range shot you don’t often see in high school.”
DAVID LA VAQUE
1. Graham Woodward (Edina) - Woodward scored more points alone in the first half (32) then the entire Andover squad (27). He knocked down shots, made open layups and left early in the 2nd half. The senior scored 40 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals. Making his case for Mr. Basketball today?
2. Reggie Lynch (Edina) - Like Woodward, Lynch left the game earlier but his presence was felt in the paint. Andover just couldn't match up with the 6'9 Center. Very consistant shooting including at leats 3 powerful dunks, Lynch dropped 24 points but was 1 rebound shy of the double double. He also blocked 6 Husky shots.
3. Kyle Kettler (Andover) - It probably wasn't the best day for Kettler but he co-led the team in scoring with 13 points, 50% from the field, and had a team high 5 rebounds. He'll be back next year for his senior season and a chance to get back to the state tournament with a solid group of returners next season.
- Pete Heldstab, MN Basketball Hub