Shakopee senior forward Haley Zerr noticed her stomach turning before the game, nerves owing to the Sabers' first state tournament trip since 1997.
The sick feeling persisted as teammate Taylor Koenen, the Sabers' all-time leading scorer, limped off the court five seconds into the Class 4A quarterfinal game against White Bear Lake on Tuesday.
"She's a big player on the team, so that was a shocker for us," Zerr said.
Koenen wasn't gone long. She put a brace on her tender ankle, returned to the game and dominated. She led all scorers with 26 points in a 62-56 Shakopee victory at Target Center.
No. 5 seed Shakopee (22-8) knocked off No. 4 seed White Bear Lake (22-8), which had won 11 of its past 12 games. The Sabers did their most damage inside, outscoring the Bears 18-9 on second-chance points.
"The difference in the game was their offensive rebounding," White Bear Lake coach Jeremy Post said. "They are big, strong, physical, tall and athletic."
Koenen, a 6-2 junior guard who verbally committed to North Carolina, embodies all of those attributes. She scored from various spots on the floor and played solid defense on White Bear Lake leading scorer Alison Hinck.
"Once you get thinking about the game, the pain kind of goes away," Koenen said. "You have more to worry about here than an ankle."
Hopkins smothers Roch. Mayo
Hopkins coach Brian Cosgriff said he felt "nervous as heck" about drawing Rochester Mayo in the state tournament quarterfinals.
"It was probably the toughest first-round game we could get," he said. "I knew they would be prepared."
Few teams can adequately prepare for top-ranked Hopkins, which rolled to a lopsided 62-35 victory. The Spartans finished with three times as many turnovers (39) as they did field goals made (13).
The Royals (28-1) stormed to a 45-20 halftime lead and never let the Spartans (23-6) breathe. The Spartans didn't score a second-half point until almost six minutes after halftime.
"We stepped on their throats like we're supposed to," Hopkins junior guard Ashley Bates said.
Bates posted team bests in points (10) and steals (four) in the first 20 minutes.
"Ashley has flown under the radar," Cosgriff said. "She's always been real productive. She finishes real well. She flies around defensively and rebounds the heck out of the ball for her size."
Rochester Mayo, which entered the state tournament with 19 victories in the past 20 games, held opponents to 39.4 points per game. But a quicker, tougher Hopkins team, Spartans coach Rich Decker said, "plays at a different caliber than 99 percent of the teams in the state."