The Edina Hornets endured a frustrating semifinal matchup with Park Center, but ultimately fell one game short of the state championship game due to an inability to score.
Simply put: Edina couldn't buy a bucket all night. Coming off of a 99-point effort in the Class 4A quarterfinals, the Hornets just couldn't sink shots when it mattered most.
Edina came out looking strong, initially building up a 9-5 lead against the No. 2 seed Pirates during Thursday night's game at Target Center. But when senior Reggie Lynch got into foul trouble early on in the first half, Park Center saw their opening.
With Lynch on the bench in the first half, Park Center went on a 20-8 run to head into halftime with a 37-22 lead.
That lead proved too much for Edina to overcome, with Park Center playing strong defense and baskets just continuing to elude the Hornets. When Lynch fouled out midway through the second half, it once again allowed the Pirates to exploit his absence.
The Edina senior was clearly the missing ingredient for Edina, as the Hornets averaged 25-25 points with him on the floor, but were outscored 41-19 with Lynch out. By the time the final buzzer sounded, the Pirates advanced to the title game with a 66-44 win.
Graham Woodward led the Hornets with 17 points, one rebound and two assists. Lynch contributed nine points and nine rebounds, while fellow senior Mark Handberg kicked in seven points of his own and 12 rebounds.
The Hornets will now play Lake Conference rival Eden Prairie in the Class 4A third place game at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Mar. 23, at Concordia University in St. Paul.