Posted On: 02/28/18 10:00 AM

Edina and Woodbury competed in a March level game and the stars of the team – Michael Jones, Anders Nelson, and Jack Middleton – all stepped forward to perform in impressive ways.

Anders Nelson.  The Edina guard has taken his game to a higher level at the right time.  Nelson exploded for 47 points against Holy Family, Anders had 32 at Minnetonka, and last night Nelson made 9 of his 12 field goals – included six threes made – and hit all of his foul shots for 27 points.  Edina and Woodbury are well coached teams with physical players so scoring in space was tough, but Nelson worked his way to that space and was efficient with it for his 27.  Nelson has always been a playmaking threat but from what we’ve seen this year his ball handling as well as his ability to create space with and without the ball have greatly improved.  St. Cloud State and Sioux Falls (Head Coach), who have offered scholarships, were in the crowd as were the head coaches from St. John’s and St. Thomas.

Michael Jones.  The Woodbury Mr. Basketball finalist has spent his life with defenders hanging all over him.  A constant denial, a hard double near the basket, hard cutter bumps, and heavy help, Michael Jones has dealt with all of it the last two years with Woodbury and the Minnesota Fury.  And he keeps producing numbers.  Jones had the 27 against CDH last Friday and scored 19 on his 7 of 17 shooting against one of the state’s better defenders.  Jones would like to have a couple late game shots back of course, but his ability to draw contact and finish at the foul line, Michael’s outstanding low post play, and his intelligence creating space moving within the halfcourt offense have allowed him to be the high level scorer he is.  Michael also collected six boards last night.  It will be interesting to see Jones play at Davidson when he can catch and score within the team offensive framework when he doesn’t have defenders hanging all over him.  Jones also became the all time leading scorer in Woodbury history last night passing Max Hintz.

Jack Middleton. The Edina junior is a player that I think many scholarship schools would like to have because of the various things he brings on both ends of the floor.  Offensively Jack scores consistent numbers but doesn’t need a lot of shots to get those numbers.  Middleton scored 15 on only seven field goal attempts which included a pair of treys, several foul shots, and he scored off the ball for active buckets.  Production without demanding the ball, scoring within the framework, Middleton does it well.  Then, on the other end of the court, Jack is asserting himself as one of the better defenders out there beating his opponent to the angle consistently after moving his feet and shedding contact.  Jack’s hard working denial of the ball to Jones resulted in Michael hitting no three-pointers and missing ten of 17 shots which is big production for his team.

Royal Ready. Woodbury is likely to finish 15-11, not the record they want but versus a difficult schedule the Royals are ready for a very tough section.  Of the 25 games that Woodbury has played, 12 of them were against ranked teams. Of those 11 losses, the worst one was to 14-11 White Bear Lake who is a very tough team.  The Royals also have wins over North St. Paul, Lakeville South, East Ridge, Forest Lake twice, and they beat WBL the first time.  DJ Fleming has stepped forward and has had a nice year including the 15 he had last night along with three triples.  Future Nebraska football player David Alston had ten points and seven rebounds versus Edina and Ray’Sean Treadwell scored on four of five shots.

Toughest Sections Out There.  Section 4AAAA is very tough, as tough as just about any out there.  Then you have Section 2AAAA that includes five teams that have spent time ranked this year.  Eden Prairie, Edina, Chaska, Prior Lake, Minnetonka, Shakopee, Jefferson, and Chanhassen.  How do you separate this crew?  Head to head will do it you would think but when high school coaches vote in region play you never know what will happen.  Edina’s schedule will hold up well as 17 of the 26 teams they will have faced this year have been, or are ranked now.  Of the nine losses on the Hornets schedule one maximum would be considered anywhere near close to being a “hurtful loss”.  Edina also has wins over six ranked teams including the early years wins over CDH and Apple Valley.