The injury-depleted Eagles had to have someone step up against Eastview, and the junior guard embraced the role.
Grant Shaeffer, take a bow.
The Eden Prairie junior guard scored 29 of the Eagles' final 37 points to almost single-handedly will his team past No. 3 seed Eastview 75-68 in overtime in the Class 4A quarterfinals Wednesday at Target Center.
He had only two points at halftime, but during the break Shaeffer's pregame snack of bananas and a sports drink must have kicked in.
Shaeffer finished with a career-high 41 points. Nine came on three-pointers on the Eagles' final three possessions of regulation, the last sneaking through the hoop with 0.4 seconds remaining to force overtime.
He's no stranger to the big stage. Shaeffer started at quarterback for Eden Prairie this fall, guiding the team to the Class 5A football title in November.
Wednesday's performance, more than 30 points above his average, kept the basketball Eagles (23-7) on pace for an appearance in a second consecutive Class 4A championship game.
"We needed someone to make shots, and I ended up being that guy," Shaeffer said in a nod to injured regular starters Andre Wallace (wrist, ankle) and Jack Cottrell (back), who spent most of the game on the bench and finished with no points. "The hoop looked huge. It was just a ton of fun out there. Everything I was shooting was going in."
Eden Prairie trailed 51-48 with 2 minutes, 50 seconds remaining in regulation before Shaeffer took over.
In overtime, he scored the first nine points en route to 14 in the extra time.
"Just an unbelievable show of heart," Eagles coach David Flom said. "His threes were ridiculous; pretty deep. He's obviously a gamer."
Shaeffer's three at the buzzer, with two Eastview fouls to give, was a backbreaker.
"If that shot is an inch or so off, we're the ones who are smiling," Lightning coach Mark Gerber said.
Charged with two fouls in the first three minutes of the game, Eastview juggernaut Joey King sat the majority of the first half before eventually scoring a team-high 27 points.
BRIAN STENSAASLakeville North 61, Moorhead 55
Lakeville North had the luxury of bringing two Division I athletes off the bench Wednesday.
Those players, Tyler David and Tyler Flack, paid huge dividends as the No. 2 seed Panthers outlasted Moorhead at Target Center.
David, who will play soccer at St. Louis University, and Flack, who signed to play basketball at South Dakota, combined for 17 points in the second half after not scoring in the first half. They provided an 8-0 spurt that gave Lakeville North some juice.
"I feel like I can bring energy to this team," David said. "When it's my turn to shoot, I'm willing to take the shots and hit them."
"He's a guy that doesn't score in the first half but in the second half he's looks like a 20-point-per-game scorer because he's so confident," Panthers coach John Oxton said.
David hit a free throw to give Lakeville North (29-1) a 52-50 lead with two minutes, 22 seconds to play. But the Spuds (18-10) were not yet deflated.
"With two minutes left, we were ecstatic to be that close," Moorhead's Austin Nelson said.
Flack hit a turnaround jumper to give the Panthers a four-point lead with one minute and 33 seconds to play.
DAVID LA VAQUE