The Panthers built a big lead before holding off a rally by second-seeded Centennial. Eastview, Eden Prairie, Kennedy also won.
Bouncing into each other’s arms and mugging for the camera, the Lakeville North girls’ basketball team looked the part of triumphant underdogs.
The Panthers enjoyed a turbocharged start and endured a near-collapse within a 69-52 upset of No. 2 seed Centennial on Tuesday in the Class 4A state tournament quarterfinals at Target Center.
The victory marked only the second time a No. 2 seed fell in the opening round and the first time since 2010. Lakeville North’s lead ballooned to 35-9 in the first half before Centennial whittled it down to a one-possession game in the second half.
The Panthers remained unfazed.
“It felt like a tight game; it felt like a two-point game the entire time,” said Panthers junior forward MacKenzie Denk, who scored a game-high 21 points.
“The intensity was there for both teams the whole time. We just had to have more heart to win.”
Struggling to contain Lakeville North’s quickness, Centennial used a trapping defense in the second half to slow the pace. The switch helped the Cougars build a 22-5 run to shrink Lakeville North’s lead to 42-40. Jill Conrad fueled the comeback with 10 of Centennial’s points.
Then Denk scored, followed by field goals from Temi Carda and Jessica Meidl, and the Panthers (21-9) went ahead 54-44. The spent Cougars (23-6) could not get within six points down the stretch.
“Adrenaline was wearing off,” Centennial coach Greg Amundson said. “I’m sure the legs weren’t working like they should have.”
DAVID LA VAQUE
Top seed avoids upset
Eastview 63, St. Paul Central 58: Eastview’s teams are nicknamed the Lightning, but St. Paul Central stood tall and nearly shocked the state.
Top-ranked and the No. 1 seed in the Class 4A state tournament field, Eastview could not shake upset-minded Central. The teams were separated by one point late in the second half before the Lightning escaped with the victory.
“We expected that,” Eastview coach Melissa Guebert said. “This is the state tournament and there are no easy games. It was nice to see the girls battle through that.”
Eastview (29-1) held a 30-28 edge to begin the second half. But St. Paul Central (24-6) took over, thanks to Jada Jones, Chelcie Kizart and Lyric Williams.
The trio combined for 14 points through the first 5 minutes, 42 seconds of the second half.
“We certainly weren’t taking them lightly,” Guebert said. “They are fast and they are physical in a good way. They hit the outside shot more than I expected.”
A familiar duo kept Eastview close. Madison Guebert and Kari Opatz, the leading scorers all season, contributed 55 of the Lightning’s 63 points. They stayed aggressive despite each playing with four fouls.
|Miami - LP: B. Morris||4||FINAL|
|Washington - WP: M. Grace||6|
|NY Yankees - LP: C. Martin||1||FINAL|
|Toronto - WP: R. Dickey||3|
|Philadelphia - WP: A. Harang||5||FINAL|
|Atlanta - LP: A. Wood||2|
|Tampa Bay - WP: J. Odorizzi||5||FINAL|
|Boston - LP: C. Buchholz||1|
|Los Angeles - LP: C. Hatcher||3||FINAL|
|Milwaukee - WP: M. Blazek||4|
|Chicago Cubs - LP: P. Strop||9||FINAL|
|St. Louis - WP: M. Socolovich||10|
|Oakland - LP: J. Hahn||7||FINAL|
|Minnesota - WP: P. Hughes||8|
|Texas - WP: K. Kela||2||FINAL|
|Houston - LP: C. Qualls||1|
|Seattle - WP: F. Hernandez||3||FINAL|
|LA Angels - LP: M. Shoemaker||2|
|San Diego - LP: T. Ross||0||FINAL|
|San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner||2|