The first 4 days of the local playoff schedule feature early round games in all classes. That's before 3 game days of semis (Fri, Sat, Tues) and the final 3 days of section finals. Those early round games are chance to catch some very competitive games. Every year you get games where the teams appear to be better than those seeds. No different this year. So with that in mind I took in a pair of 4 vs 5 games in AAAA on Tuesday/Wednesday. Logical options.
Tuesday: Eagan at Burnsville
Burnsville had won both head to head meetings and was 2 games better in the South Suburban. All of that played out again. Burnsville would go on a 1st half 22-6 run to break open a tight game. Matt Baisch would help the Blaze keep that moment going to half with a buzzer beating 3 that kept the lead at 14. Baisch with 2 more 3s early in the 2nd half to push the lead to 20. It gets as large as 24 and Burnsville coasts from there. Blaze win 88-68. Matt Baisch 6 3s and 25 points to lead Burnsville. Soph Julian Quiroz-Hutchinson and center Abdijabar Mural add 17 each. Darby Sorenson's 1st half offense keep Eagan hanging around. He finished with 11 of his 17 in the 1st half. Burnsville plays Apple Valley in the 3AAAA semifinals at Farmington on Friday night.
Wednesday: Prior Lake at Edina
The first half of this one had Edina's star guards producing. Anders Nelson and Walt McGrory combining for 28 of the 40 points for Edina in the half. But Jacob Fredrickson was a load inside for Prior Lake with 10 points. Their star Brian Sitzmann added 12. So Prior Lake down 40-35 at the break in a very tight first half. A sloppy stretch for Prior Lake starting at about the 7 minute mark of the half gave Edina some momentum.
Second half more of the same. Entertaining stretch starting at the 10 minute mark and Edina up 3. Luke Glenna off the Edina bench for 3. Alex Preston off the Prior Lake bench with the catch and shoot on the BLOB. Glenna again from deep, Preston 2 free throws. Sitzmann and Preston with triples around a Nelson 3 and Sitzmann sticks back a miss. 61-59 Edina with 6 left. But 3 late offensive rebounds for Edina really destroyed Prior Lake's chances. McGrory converts 1 for a triple. Jack Middleton sticks back a miss. Those keep Edina up 8 between 3 and 4 minutes to go. Then Edina up 4 with 49.8 left and they convert a missed front end into a McGrory layup. Jimmy Connell with both of the offensive boards leading to those McGrory buckets. Edina wins 75-69. Edina's Walt McGrory leads all scorers with 26 points in front of Elon, Maine and Brown. Anders Nelson with 21. Jake Fredrickson 25 points dominating the paint for Prior Lake. Brian Sitzmann adds 20. Trent West held to 4. Alex Preston adds 11 off the bench. Edina plays Chaska on Saturday at Hopkins in the 2AAAA semifinals.