There are big shoes to fill in the Eden Prairie girls basketball lineup this season.
Shayne Mullaney and Jackie Johnson were four-year standouts for the Eagles but graduated last summer. That duo led EP to a 22-6 record as seniors last season.
Mullaney and Johnson were all-conference and all-state selections while becoming Eden Prairie’s scoring and rebounding leaders for four seasons.
Mullaney and Johnson are now playing for Gopher coach Pam Borton at the University of Minnesota.
Eden Prairie head coach Chris Carr knows it will be difficult to replace the talented tandem of Mullaney, a point guard, and Johnson, a forward/center.
“Your never replace two outstanding players like Mullaney and Johnson,” said coach Carr. “But you hope to find a few players to step in and fill their spots.”
Coach Carr is counting on leadership from four senior captains – 5-8 forward Cassie Saxton, 5-10 forward Annie Thul, 5-7 guard Tayler Brekke and 5-10 senior center Megan Knoff.
“Our captains are good people and should provide great leadership,” said Carr. “This is a hard-working group that is challenging themselves to be the best they can be.”
Eden Prairie has gotten off to a successful start attaining victories over Apple Valley and Prior Lake.
The Eagles opened their season with a 55-25 victory over Prior Lake Nov. 27.
Sophomore center Samantha Trammel led Eagle scorers with 15 points. Martha Kuderer, a 5-10 sophomore forward, contributed 10 points.
Saxton finished with seven points. Scoring six points each were 5-4 freshman guard Esabelle Levine and Thul.
“We played hard on the road,” said Carr. “We came out and rose to the occasion.”
Jayla Mayes-Jackson, a 5-8 junior guard, had an impressive game in Eden Prairie’s 62-54 victory over Apple Valley Nov. 29. She finished with 23 points.
Trammel scored 14 points and Thul finished with eight points. Taylor Johnson, a 5-11 senior guard, netted six points.
Other Eagle scorers were Emma Boehm (4), Caymah Dennis (3), Levine (2) and Rachael Platt (2).
“Apple Valley is a scrappy team and led at halftime,” said Carr. “But we came back and controlled the game in the second half.”
Eden Prairie (2-0) will play host to Lakeville North at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7.
Then the Eagles are off for a week until facing Providence Academy at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, on the road.