The Eden Prairie boys' basketball team entered the Class 4A, Section 2 tournament with a .500 record and the No. 4 seed, hoping the adversity it faced throughout the regular season would pay off in a state tournament berth.
Eagles coach David Flom never doubted whether his team could handle the adversity. For him, it was only a matter of when those tough moments would pay dividends.
Friday, only days after upsetting section top seed Shakopee, the Eagles defeated third-seeded Edina 73-66 to claim the section championship and advance to the state tournament for the second time in three years.
"We didn't have the best record but it's all about playing your best basketball when the tournament time comes,'' said senior Brady Rudrud, who led Eden Prairie (16-13) with 23 points and 12 rebounds. "That's what we did. We got hot and I think we're going to stay hot."
Senior guard Nick Geolat added 14 points while Ryan Jacobus had 12 for Eden Prairie.
Walt McGrory led Edina (18-11) with a game-high 24 points while Will Moreton had 20 points.
Edina trailed by double digits midway through the second half. With less than three minutes left in the game, a jumper by McGrory cut the deficit to 63-60. The Hornets were forced to foul, however, and Eden Prairie sealed its victory at the free-throw line.
"It does feel sweeter because of what we had to go through to get here," Flom said.