Eden Prairie passes another test, this time at Minneapolis North
By Jim Paulsen, Star Tribune, 01/03/18, 10:24PM CST
The balanced Eagles pulled away at the end.
Drake Dobbs of Eden Prairie makes a diving pass as Trej Holloman (21) and Eli Campbell (2) of Minneapolis North defend.
Gallery: Eden Prairie vs. Minneapolis North
Knowing he’s got something special brewing with his young team, Eden Prairie boys’ basketball coach David Flom hasn’t been afraid to challenge his players.
The latest trial came Wednesday, at perennial power Minneapolis North, and the sophomore-laden Eagles displayed the type of toughness and poise expected of veteran teams, pulling away in the second half to defeat the Polars 69-57.
Forward Austin Andrews, one of Eden Prairie’s quartet of talented sophomores, led the Eagles with 24 points, using deft footwork to create space inside. Sophomore guards Drake Dobbs and John Henry chipped in with 14 points each and the fourth 10th-grader, Connor Christensen, added 12.
“This is a game where we can reference back to our toughness,” Flom said. “We can do this against a very good team on their home floor.”
Before the game, Flom said he welcomed North’s hallmark pressure defense, feeling his team was talented enough to handle a style of play they don’t see often.
Eden Prairie (8-1) started the game looking smooth and efficient, using great ball movement to build a 32-20 lead with six minutes left in the opening half. North turned up the pressure and went on a 14-3 run just before halftime, cutting the deficit to 35-34 at intermission.
Both teams struggled to score to start the second half. Eden Prairie started settling for three-point attempts and made just one of their first 10 tries. North (3-2) wasn’t faring much better, unable to find offensive rhythm or generate transition baskets.
Eventually, Eden Prairie took control, thanks to the inside work of Andrews. His ability to score down low and, when defended, kick the ball out to shooters outside paid off.
The Eagles made their final four three-point attempts, opening up a comfortable lead and cruising to victory.
“We’re coming together as a team, even though we’re young,” Andrew said. “We’re not getting rattled. We kept our composure and finished this thing out strong.”