Trailing by six points at halftime to the team many have anointed the best in the state was right where Eden Prairie coach David Flom wanted his team to be.
Well, maybe not precisely, but Flom was far from unhappy.
His Eagles, showing the resilience and toughness developed from more than three years of playing together, rallied in the second half to beat host Minnehaha Academy 78-64 in a battle of No. 1-ranked boys' basketball teams.
No. 1, Class 4A Eden Prairie (24-0), which starts four seniors who have been playing varsity together for more than three years, trailed No. 1, 3A Minnehaha 31-25 at halftime. Considering the circumstances, Flom was far from displeased.
"Their athleticism, length, strength and how engaged they were was something offensively we hadn't seen all year," Flom said. "We rushed a lot of shots. The fact that we were [only] down six? We felt like we were in a really good spot."
After settling down, Eden Prairie cut the Minnehaha Academy lead to one, 38-37, on the strength of an offensive flourish from sharpshooting guard John Henry. He scored 12 consecutive points on three three-pointers and a traditional three-point play, cutting the deficit to a single point.
Henry went on to score a team high 29 points, with seven three-pointers.
"In the month of January, he's been shooting 63 percent on threes," Flom said. "It was very typical of him, coming out on fire."
Before Tuesday, Minnehaha Academy (19-3) had won 16 games in a row. The Redhawks came out like they were prepared to make it 17.
With guards Hercy Miller and Jalen Suggs splitting up the offensive load and 7-foot forward Chet Holmgren patrolling the lane, Eden Prairie had trouble finding offensive flow.
Henry sparked the second-half comeback, but it was Eden Prairie's never-say-die approach that ignited it. After their lead was cut to one point, the Redhawks built it back to nine, but the Eagles never backed down.
Fittingly, it was Henry who made consecutive layups that gave the Eagles a 63-59 lead they never relinquished.
"We just out-toughed them," Henry said. "That was the biggest thing."
Point guard Drake Dobbs, who added 19 points, emphasized the same trait.
"It shows how tough we are," Dobbs said. "Even when we're down, we know that one guy can get hot, like John. We just continue to trust in each other."