Eastview tried to make Apple Valley sweat most of the way, getting as close as trailing by just two points in the second half. But the defending Class 4A champion Eagles prevailed for an 84-69 victory to win the Section 3 title.
Apple Valley senior guard Ely Hendrickson swung the momentum with three three-pointers to eclipse an early 9-2 run by the No. 2 seeded Lightning (12-17) in the first half. It gave the top-seeded Eagles (25-4) the jump-started needed in the game at Farmington High School.
"It gave us some momentum, but it's all credit to my teammates who got me the ball," Hendrickson said. "We just got that energy going after that."
Eastview whittled Apple Valley's lead down to 42-40 about midway through the second half, capped by a basket by Lightning senior forward Will Barry, who had nine points. Senior forward Steven Crowl led the Lightning with 13 points and four rebounds.
"I thought we hung with them for the most part," Crowl said.
But hanging with the champs also led to fouls and turnovers that stymied the upset bid. Eagles senior guard Tre Jones sparked a 16-2 run to break things open with 10 of his game-high 33 points.
"We saw the fatigue setting in with about 12 minutes left in the second half," Jones said.
Hendrickson finished with 11 points but only two after halftime. His big first half nonetheless was key to extending the Eagles' bid for something unprecedented.
"No Apple Valley team has ever repeated," Hendrickson said. "We're hoping to do that."
Other 4A games
Section 7: Forest Lake overcame a 13-point deficit to defeat Blaine 64-62 at Chisago Lakes High School. Thad Bell led the Rangers with 16 points. Ray Mitchell led the Bengals with 17 points.
Section 8: Top-seeded Maple Grove defeated seeded Buffalo 66-52 at Monticello High School. Jared Rainey led the Crimson with 21 points. Matt Willert led the Bison with 26 points. Nate Adams also had 15 points and Jordan Stensland had 13 for the Crimson.