East Ridge 74, Hopkins 65
It was a memorable season opener for East Ridge as the No. 1 ranked Raptors faced off with No. 2 Hopkins.
After a back-and-forth game for the first 34 minutes, East Ridge pulled out with the lead to end the game comfortably with a big win and a confidence boost.
"I liked our determination and chemistry on the court," said head coach Bryce Tesdahl. "We kept fighting and it really took a team to get this win."
Tesdahl said the first eight minutes Hopkins took a lead and the Raptors had to fight back to regain the lead and keep it at the half. East Ridge had a 34-30 lead heading into the second half.
The Raptors were able to hold that lead the majority of the second half due to the performance by Kendall Brown. Brown finished the game with 26 points, but he scored 18 of them in the second half.
Tesdahl said Brown was all over the court with layups, dunks and 3-pointers. Brown wasn't the only one to contribute in the game as Kourtney Brown Jr., Ben Carlson and Zach Zebrowski all scored in double digits as well.
Brown Jr. had 17 points, while Carlson finished with 15 points and Zebrowski had 13 points. Those four players combined for about 96 percent of the points on Saturday night.
"We worked really well as a team tonight and that was something I was hoping to see," Tesdahl said. "We had so much resilience, which I hope carries into the next game and this season."
The Raptors will return home for their home opener on Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. as they take on North. Then, East Ridge heads to Hopkins High School for the Tip-Off Classic on Saturday, Dec. 8. The Raptors will play at 5:30 p.m. against Prior Lake in the tournament.
"We learned a lot about this team with this win," Tesdahl said. "It's always nice to learn from a win, but hopefully we carry this into next week."
Eastview 90, Park 66
Park had their season opener and home opener on Saturday afternoon, but it was a result the Wolfpack weren't hoping for against Eastview.
Even though the Wolfpack lost 90-66, Park's head coach Mike Weah was happy with how his players played in the first game of the season.
"Eastview is a tough team and is well coached," Weah said. "I'm not upset about the loss because I saw some really good things that we can work on during practice."
The main things he saw that he enjoyed was surrounded by the team chemistry and how they worked together. He also liked the IQ of all the players and using common sense during a game.
Weah calls out plays on the sideline, but when the play doesn't develop the players use their basketball IQ's to make a play. Weah said he can't coach that, but he's glad it's developed into the players.
Now, Weah hopes the players got a little taste of what a game feels like and look like for practice next week. He knows the intensity will rise in practice from each player and he's excited about it.
The Wolfpack received a lot of help from Domenik Block and Charlie Gorres. Block finished the game with 24 points, while Gorres ended with 16 points. These two scored over half the points for Park on Saturday.
"I'm excited to see what we can do in practice over the next week," Weah said. "Then, see it translate into a game."
Park will be able to show it in a game on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m. as the Wolfpack host Hudson. Then, the Wolfpack travels to Hastings at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 7.