Sherman Column: Edina boys basketball squad deals with high ranking
When Edina High boys basketball coach Pat Dorsey saw the preseason state rankings in Class 4A, he knew his team had just sprouted a big target on its back.
The Hornets were ranked No. 2 behind Apple Valley, but that ranking assumed they would have senior guard Marley Allison on the floor.
Allison, a 6-foot senior is out with a broken foot, and he watched from the sidelines as the Hornets lost their first four games of the season to Waconia, Lakeville North, Austin and Woodbury.
Edina finally found its way into the win column Dec. 14 with a 60-52 victory over Blake School at Edina Community Center.
Due to a maintenance problem that required the installation of a new floor, Friday night marked the first time this season that the Hornets had been in Edina Community Center’s main gym.
With the new floor in place, Edina’s game rounded into form.
Six-foot senior point guard Graham Woodward played an amazing game with 26 points and 13 assists. Six-eleven senior center Reggie Lynch got his touches in the post and the rest of the Hornets played their roles.
“It has been a rough road for us,” said Dorsey. “If you don’t look at the scoreboard, we’ve improved with every game. We are becoming more comfortable. On offense we’re starting to take what we need instead of what the defensive gives us.”
Dorsey said he was impressed with Blake School, which plays in Class 2A.
“They’re going to win a lot of games this season,” he said. “Both Edina and Blake had great student sections at the game, and that made it a great atmosphere for high school basketball.”
Woodward hits 1,000
“The ball bounced our way more than it did Blake’s way,” said Dorsey. “Graham [Woodward] is our general on the floor, a great leader.
“He scored his one thousandth career point against Lakeville North and now has 1,090.”
Edina’s all-time points record is 1,390 by All-State guard Greg Buth, who played at Dartmouth College following a four-year career at Edina High.
Buth was a shooting guard, and he could shoot it with the best of them.
The Allison watch
Allison, an All-State wide receiver in football, would add to Edina’s effort at both ends of the floor, Dorsey noted.
“Marley is a great defensive player and a good scorer,” the coach said. “His shooting could take some of the pressure off of Graham. With Marley out, sophomore Ben Boone has played very well. When Marley does come back, we will have a deeper team. Ben is no longer playing like a rookie.”
Around the Lake
This winter could be Edina’s best shot to win the Lake boys basketball title.
That title has been Hopkins’ domain for the last 10 years, although the Royals had to share honors with Minnetonka in 2008.
Hopkins is vulnerable this season with shooting guard Jacob Wright, a 6-foot-3 junior, as the only returning starter.
Another junior, Kamali Chambers, has moved into the lineup at point guard.
Ninth-grader Amir Coffey is the future of the Hopkins program.
Minnetonka is off to a good start this season and doubled up on Benilde-St. Margaret’s 68-34 in a non-conference game Dec. 15.
Riley Dearring, a University of Wisconsin recruit, formerly of Hopkins, is the Skippers’ top gun.
Wayzata has experienced much the same fate as Edina, thus far.
The Trojans have four returning starters, including 6-foot-4 senior forward Zach Robertson, but they’ve lost some close ones, including a 77-76 overtime decision to Cooper Dec. 14.
Eden Prairie is reloading with two experienced guards, senior Grant Shaeffer and junior Andre Wallace.
Look for an exciting Lake race. I can’t see any of the five teams going undefeated in the conference’s double-round-robin schedule.
Ringing those bells
Anyone eating dinner at Southdale’s Ruby Tuesday restaurant Saturday, Dec. 15, might have noticed that the Edina High baseball players were ringing the bells for the Salvation Army’s charitable donations.
“Our guys realize that it’s not just about baseball,” said Hornet head coach Carter Freeman.