Neither Holy Angels' No. 2 ranking nor Arkansas-bound Destinee Oberg's size unsettled Grand Rapids.
The No. 7-rated Thunderhawks got out in transition at every opportunity, exploiting the plodding Stars in a 75-60 victory Wednesday in the Class 3A quarterfinals at Williams Arena.
"We knew we had to push the ball up the floor," Grand Rapids coach Kris Hamling said. "This team loves to do that. Our girls played really well."
Grand Rapids (22-7) went on an 8-2 run early in the second half to open up a 47-38 lead. Meara Beighley and Liberty Blaine had baskets while Heaven Hamling, Kris' daughter, made a three-pointer in the burst. Beighley later had a run of nine consecutive Thunderhawk points.
"We like to run the floor," Blaine said. "It was a big part of the game. It helped us win."
Not to mention a little pregame motivation. Before leaving their hotel for the game, the Thunderhawks watched a tape of their 46-44 loss to Alexandria on a last-second shot in the quarterfinals a year ago.
"We came in with a chip on our shoulder," Beighley said. "We wanted to play our best game."
They showed it until the midway point of the second half. Holy Angels (25-5), seeded third, used an 11-2 run to pull within 54-53 on sophomore guard Emma Henry's three-pointer. Grand Rapids then went on an 8-0 run to regain control.
Senior guard Megan Meyer was the lone Stars player in double figures with 16 points. Oberg was limited to six points and five rebounds in 30 minutes.
"It was frustrating," Oberg said. "We weren't getting what we were used to on offense. We were getting worn down, and couldn't get back on defense."
All five Grand Rapids starters finished in double digits. Heaven Hamling led the way with 18 while Beighley had 17. Heaven Hamling also had eight steals and seven assists.
"We have been playing very, very well the last three weeks," Kris Hamling said.
She hopes it continues for three more days.