Hopkins vs. Edina

5:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11

Think Jack Middleton isn’t all that for Edina? Middleton, a senior guard averaging 28.4 points per game, missed the Hornets’ two games at Eden Prairie’s holiday tournament with a turned ankle. The result: Edina lost both games and fell out of the Class 4A rankings for the first time this season.

He returned the lineup last Thursday and scored a season-high 43 points in an 89-51 victory over St. Louis Park.

Edina coach Joe Burger watched his team struggle in a 92-75 loss Dec. 27 to No. 4-4A Shakopee before they slowly learned to play without Middleton and made a late charge at No. 9-4A Chaska in a 72-67 loss at the Eden Prairie tournament a day later.

He hopes the experience gained by playing without Middleton, who Burger calls the team’s floor leader and best defensive player, will help the Hornets down the road. And it should come in handy this week as the Hornets (5-4, 0-0) host No. 3-4A Hopkins (11-1, 0-0) on Friday in a Lake Conference opener for both squads.

Jacob Hutson, a 6-9 junior, averages 20 points for the Hornets, but no one else averages in double figures. Guards Zach Kloos (8.9 ppg) and Zak Haji (5.8 ppg) have gotten extended looks without Middleton in the lineup and Burger said he’s happy with their progress.

Hopkins is led by 6-10 senior and Arizona commit Zeke Nnaji, who averages 22.1 points per game. Support comes from junior guard Kerwin Walton (16.3 ppg) and senior forward Andy Stafford (11.3 ppg).