As fans field out of Minnetonka High’s West Gym Feb. 1, they knew they had seen a virtuoso performance by Edina’s 6-foot senior guard Graham Woodward.
Members of the Mr. Basketball of Minnesota committee were there to watch Woodward score 41 points in an 81-73 victory over the Skippers.
One Minnetonka fan remarked, “We knew what Woodward was going to do, and we still couldn’t stop him.”
Join the crowd. Woodward is averaging 29 points per game this season, and his performance Friday night gave the Hornets a 1-0 start in Lake Conference play. Hopkins leads the standings with a 2-0 mark following wins over Wayzata and Eden Prairie last week.
Edina coach Pat Dorsey, who has had a front row seat to watch Woodward all season, said, “You look at 41 points, and that is extremely impressive against a team like Minnetonka. But the most impressive thing about Graham was the way he controlled the tempo. He knew when to speed the game up. He knew when to slow it down.”
Minnetonka got out to a nine-point lead, thanks in part to a trio of three-point baskets by sophomore guard Andrew Grosz, the son of Edina teacher Greg Grosz.
But after that, it was all Woodward all the time.
“Graham had the game in the palm of his hand,” said Dorsey.
Of course, the 2012 All-State guard had some help. Reggie Lynch, Edina’s 6-foot-11 senior center, had a monster game with 24 points. Defensively, he made the Skippers settle for jump shots. When they tried to take it to the cup, he swatted balls out of bounds.
Senior forward Mark “Stavro” Handberg had another double-digit rebound game and scored five points for the Hornets. The Boone brothers also contributed with Ben scoring seven points and Nick adding four points.
Grosz led the Skippers with 17 points and junior guard Luke Pettersen sank 14 points. Minnetonka played without its Mr. Basketball candidate, Riley Dearring, who was out with an injury.
“Minnetonka’s outside shooting puts a lot of pressure on you,” said Dorsey. “My philosophy is that mismatches won’t beat you, but open shots will.”
Grosz and Pettersen are two of the top snipers in the Lake, and senior guard Malcolm Moore isn’t far behind. If you don’t check all of them, they’ll put points on the board. Shooting is the main reason Minnetonka has a 15-2 record this season.
Edina was playing Eden Prairie in a Lake Conference game Tuesday, Feb. 5, at this edition went to press. At 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, the Hornets will play a conference game against Wayzata at the Wayzata High gym.
Wayzata’s recent 11-game winning streak ended at the hands of Hopkins last week, but the Trojans are still a threat in the conference race with a strong senior class that includes Bradley Carlson, Nick Eid and leading scorer Zach Robertson.
Contact John Sherman at [email protected]