After last week's victory over Hopkins, Minnesota Preps ranked Eden Prairie number in class AAAA basketball. Their reign on top won't last long as the Eagles were defeated 68-63 by Chaska last evening. Penn State signed Ross Travis led a balanced effort with a team high 23 points.
"We had four players score in double figures: Ross Travis, Max Watts (14 points), Jake White (12 points), and Adam Happ (10 points)," said Chaska Coach Dana Kallman. "Ross had a very good all around game. He had 23 points and nine rebounds. Adam Happ, our point guard, had zero turnovers and Eden Prairie plays great defense!
"Kyle Fischer (the fifth starter) had a great game, he was very active and hit a couple big shots! Evan Koehler and JJ Marvin provided great defense and quality minutes off the bench. Jake White was hampered by foul trouble in the first half and only played 25 minutes in the game. I was very proud of our guys for stepping up in a Section Tournament atmosphere.
"We played very hard and smart. Our focus on defense was to give no lay ups, contest all shots, and give no second shots. Focus on offense was to be strong with the ball and take care of the ball. We didn't completely accomplish all of those goals, but we did do a decent job defending and we did a good job taking care of the ball."
Eden Prairie has won most of their games because they have fantastic scoring balance. However, the Chaska defense did a good job limiting all the Eagle weapons.
Dylan Stewart was good as usual with 24 points but talented players like Derek Dedeker, Grant Soderberg, Sander Mohn, and Jack Klukas were all held a basket or two under their average. The Hawks were able to neutralize the rest of Eden Prairie's firepower.
You could even say "defensive runs" was the term of the day but that's not what you call it at Chaska.
"When we get three stops in a row we call that a "Gap"," said coach Kallman. "This is how you are able to extend leads. When we built our lead to 60-44 lead we were able to get a couple gaps."
It seems as if Chaska has had a lot "Gaps" this year as they are 15-4 on the season with an impressive list of wins that includes Apple Valley, St. Louis Park, Edina, DeLaSalle, Waconia, New Prague, St. John's Military (WI), and now Eden Prairie.
In their first year in the Missota Conference Chaska is on top with a 6-1 conference record although New Prague and Shakopee are just a game off pace.