Eastview had the energy that Lakeville North did not. And when it turned, it turned quickly.
Eastview (31-0) broke open a tight game with a 12-0 run early in the second half en route to a 57-47 victory over its South Suburban Conference rival in the Class 4A semifinals.
"People ask us all the time what adjustments we make, but honestly, it has a lot to do with the mental side of the game and our philosophy of attacking," Eastview coach Molly Kasper said.
Until that fateful spurt Thursday at Target Center, Lakeville North, which had lost to Eastview twice during the regular season, had played the undefeated Lightning straight up, matching them basket for basket and controlling the paint.
The Panthers' switching defenses didn't allow the Lightning to find a rhythm on offense. Eastview turned its gaze outside and relied on the three-point shooting of Mariah Alipate and Andrea Abrams to stay close.
The duo combined to hit five three-pointers in the first half, making up for the lack of production from Star Tribune All-Metro forward Megan Walstad, who spent the first half battling the strong defensive effort of Lakeville North's Taylor Brown.
"Taylor played really good defense on me, but my teammates were knocking down shots, so I was really happy with how everyone else was playing," Walstad said.
Walstad turned things around in the second half. She sparked the game-changing run with six consecutive points. Walstad also blocked shot as Eastview grabbed control of the game.
"We kind of ran out of steam a little bit," Lakeville North coach Shelly Clemons said. "All of a sudden, the score was 37-31 and I could tell we were rattled.
"Things kind of unraveled from there."
The rest of the Lightning followed Walstad's lead. Freshman Cassidy Carson provided energy off the bench. Point guard Emma Carpenter started finding driving lanes and scored six points as Lakeville North's interior defense, watertight in the first half, turned leaky.
Eastview built the lead to 15 points and coasted from there.
Abrams led Eastview with 16 points, Alipate added 14 and Walstad finished with 10. Lauren Jensen paced Lakeville North (25-6) with 20 points.