Even when you’re the No. 1-ranked team in the state, it’s never easy to win a Lake Conference boys basketball road game.
Eden Prairie did it last week, beating Wayzata on the road 75-55. On Thursday, Jan. 16, the Eagles will face a tougher Lake road test when they travel north to play Hopkins at Hopkins Lindbergh Center.
Eagle head coach Dave Flom talked about Hopkins: “Historically, it is the best program in the state, and this year they have reloaded with some new players.”
The Royals entered this week’s action with an 8-3 record, while Eden Prairie is still perfect at 11-0.
“We always circle the Hopkins games on our calendar,” Flom said. “They had a hiccup [in a 64-46 loss to DeLaSalle Friday night. After a loss like that, a good team usually plays well in the next game.”
Eden Prairie’s win over Wayzata was expected, but the margin wasn’t.
“We had not won at Wayzata in five years,” Flom pointed out. However, this is not the same type of team Wayzata had the last five years. With a young lineup, Trojan head coach Bryan Schnettler is still working on finding the right combination. Wayzata got off to a slow start with some of its players competing in Prep Bowl football through Thanksgiving weekend. Also, the top returnee, Camden Heide, missed the first five games of the season while recovering from an injury.
“Wayzata is reeling a little bit right now, but Bryan does a great job,” Flom said. “He’ll figure things out.”
No matter what Wayzata did on Friday night, there was no way to slow the Eagles down.
During a timeout late in the first half, Flom reminded John Henry to set his feet before shooting the ball. That small tip paid immediate dividends, as Henry scored nine quick points, including three at the buzzer to give the Eagles a 49-26 halftime lead.
The second half was basically a stalemate with Wayzata scoring 29 points and Eden Prairie scoring 26.
Even without its top defender, 6-7 senior forward Connor Christensen, who was out with the flu, Eden Prairie bottled up the Trojan offense in the first half. Senior forward Austin Andrews guarded 6-8 sophomore center Carter Bjerke, Wayzata’s top three-point shooter and held him scoreless from behind the arc. Bjerke had only six points in the game, 12 below his season average.
“We wanted to take away the three-point line,” Flom said. “Austin is one of our best defenders. We have a few guys who can guard multiple positions.”
Four Eagles scored in double figures - Drake Dobbs with 20, Miles Frisch with 18, John Henry with 17 and Andrews with 14. Wayzata had only one scorer in double figures - junior guard Kody Williams with 14. Heide added nine and Drew Berkland scored eight.
Flom talked about Dobbs’ play at point guard over the last eight games.
“Drake is just rolling,” he said. “He had seven assists [against Wayzata], which is his lowest number in the last eight games.”
Once again, Dobbs was solid with a 7/2 assist to turnover ratio.
Among the best things about this Eden Prairie team is its unselfish style of play.
“The guys are buying into what we want to do,” Flom said. “It doesn’t matter to them who scores the points.”
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