The sound was music to Juan Mitchell’s ears.
When the Shakopee girls’ basketball coach entered the Eden Prairie gym ahead of Friday’s Class 4A. Section 2 championship game, he heard his players singing their unofficial team song, “Glorious” by Macklemore.
“I knew we were loose,” Mitchell said.
The Sabers then went out and proved it on the court, outhustling and outplaying No. 1-seeded Eden Prairie for most of the game en route to a 41-39 victory.
Losing its last three games of the regular season saddled Shakopee with nine losses and the No. 3 seed in the section. But Mitchell felt that seeding didn’t accurately reflect the team he knew. Even though five of Eden Prairie’s six losses on the season came at the hands of the top three teams in Class 4A – twice each to Hopkins and Wayzata and a loss to Stillwater – Mitchell felt like the Sabers were anything but underdogs.
“Our last four games [of the regular season] were against South Suburban Conference teams Lakeville North, Apple Valley, Farmington and Eastview,” he said. “That’s four of the best teams in the state. The South Suburban is the best basketball conference there is.”
After a slow start, Shakopee (20-9) started attacking the Eden Prairie defense. The Sabers’ athleticism proved difficult for Eden Prairie to handle as they built a 23-21 halftime lead.
Shakopee, underdogs going in but gaining confidence every minute, upset top-seeded Eden Prairie 41-39 to win the Class 4A, Section 2 championship.
Jaley Coplin’s three-pointer with 2:11 left in the second half broke a 37-37 tie and gave the Sabers the lead for good in the game played Friday at Eden Prairie.
The Eagles cut the deficit to one, 40-39, on a put-back by Nneka Obiazor. Brooke Lewis missed a runner for Eden Prairie with 16 seconds to go and Shakopee’s Sophie Moran added a free throw for the final score.
Kelley Brennan had 15 points and Coplin 13 to lead Shakopee (20-9). Eden Prairie finished the season at 21-7.
Check back later for more on the game.