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Girls basketball: Eagles topple Irish, 78-68

The early stages of each half belonged to Rosemount, but Eden Prairie took over at the end of each session to close out a season-opening 78-68 win over the Irish last Tuesday.

Rosemount opened the game by charging to a 13-2 lead, but the Eagles slowly chipped away and took the lead 38-34 by halftime. The Irish surged back ahead after the break and were still ahead 55-51 after Ellie Vraa’s free throw with 11:17 remaining.

That’s when the Eagles began their final run. They moved ahead with a 10-0 spurt over the next 2 ½ minutes and closed the game on a 27-13 surge to sew up the 10-point victory. The closest Rosemount got was three points at 61-58 on Hannah Grim’s three-pointer with 4:56 to go.

“The game came down to two stretches one in the first half and one in the second half where they just made a few more plays then we did,” Rosemount coach Chris Orr said. “Part of winning is learning how to win and that has been our big focus the rest of this week in practice is making plays and executing on offense and defense during winning time — the last five minutes of the game.”

Despite the loss, the Irish did see some signs of progress after a season where they finished 6-21 and dropped their final 12 contests. The 68 points was the most they had scored in regulation since their last victory, which came against Burnsville in mid-January.

“Our big emphasis this season is team half-court defense and to attack the rim on offense and play from the inside out,” Orr said. “We had numerous girls step up and make plays and that was fun to watch. It's never fun to lose, but we saw numerous encouraging signs on both ends of the court.”

Marquette recruit Hannah Grim led the Irish with 21 points, but made just 5 of 22 shots from the field. She made up for it with three three-pointers and an 8-of-12 effort at the free-throw line.

Ellie Vraa added 11 points, six rebounds and five steals and Kalley McMenomy had 11 points and four rebounds. Kaylie Hanson tacked on eight points, Maddy Olson scored seven and Liz Evenocheck chipped in with six points and five rebounds.

Eden Prairie pulled away thanks to 58 percent shooting and a 40-25 rebounding advantage.

The Irish (0-1) were on the road at Cottage Grove Tuesday night and make their home debut tonight with a South Suburban Conference game against Bloomington Jefferson.