As the final buzzer sounded, Minnehaha Academy senior guard Sarah Kaminski jumped up and down on her surgically repaired knees — one of which caused her to miss this season's first five games.
Kaminski, the Independent Metro Athletic Conference Player of the Year, and the Redhawks led from start to finish in a 49-38 victory over Annandale on Wednesday at Mariucci Arena in the Class 2A state quarterfinals.
"My knee felt good, especially when the buzzer sounded," said Kaminski, who had nine points, six rebounds and six assists before fouling out late. "I think every part of me felt good."
Minnehaha, the tournament's fourth seed, switched from a 1-3-1 to a 2-3 zone defense and utilized a full-course press to hassle fifth-seeded Annandale (23-8) into a season-low 38 points.
"That's about as good of defense as we've played," said Minnehaha head coach Josh Thurow, who has been to eight state tournaments in his 11 years with the Redhawks. "I think that's what won this game and what got us here to state, too."
Freshman Terra Rhoades led Minnehaha (26-4) with 13 points and senior center Lilly Thomey had 10 points and eight rebounds.
Minnehaha is making its second consecutive and ninth overall state tournament appearance. The Redhawks won the state title in 2010.
Minnehaha faces No. 1 seed and top-ranked Sauk Centre in the semifinals Thursday at Williams Arena.
"I definitely feel like we have our best game in our back pocket," Thomey said. "We haven't shown it yet."
Sauk Centre 67, Norwood Young America 45: Sauk Centre coach Scott Bergman was disappointed to hear the buzzer to end the first half of his team's Class 2A quarterfinal game against Norwood Young America.
"I wished the first half hadn't ended, we were on a roll," Bergman said.
The top-seeded Mainstreeters, who ended the first half on an 8-0 run to open a five-point halftime lead, kept rolling in the second half to defeat the Raiders 67-45.
The Mainstreeters shot only 34 percent from the field in the first half but improved to 65 percent in the second half. Sauk Centre (30-1) was 6-for-8 from three-point range in the final 18 minutes as the Mainstreeters earned their 28th consecutive victory.
They outscored the Raiders 24-8 over a seven-minute span midway through the second half to open a 22-point lead with 7 minutes, 37 seconds left.
Kelsey Peschel, a 5-6 freshman guard, scored 11 of her game-high 17 points in the second half to pace the Mainstreeters.
Madison Moritz, a 5-8 senior guard, grabbed 16 rebounds — the most by a Sauk Centre player this season — to lead the Mainstreeters to a 40-25 advantage on the boards.
"She [Moritz] doesn't lead us in scoring, rebounding, assists or steals," Bergman said, "but she is our best player."
Kali Grimm, a freshman guard, scored 12 points to lead the Raiders (26-4).
Dover-Eyota 62, Fairmont 53: Preparation was no problem for Dover-Eyota for this game. The Eagles had been preparing for their first Class 2A quarterfinal for a half-dozen years.
Shaking off a case of state tournament jitters, the Eagles blitzed Fairmont from the outset, building a 10-point halftime lead and cruising to a 62-53 victory.
Hailing from the basketball-crazy Three Rivers Conference in Minnesota's southeastern corner, Dover-Eyota had strung together six successful seasons before this year but had never been able to get out of the section playoffs. It took the best season in school history — the Eagles have set a team record for victories — to do it.
"There are so many good teams in our section, and we've never been able to beat them [in the section playoffs] before," said junior center Megan Hintz. "So we were a little nervous to finally get here."
As the tournament's No. 2 seed, Dover-Eyota (29-2) showed it wasn't content just to get to the tournament. Guards Brandi Blattner and Madison Nelson attacked the basket at every opportunity. When the shots didn't fall, the Eagles got easy putbacks. Dover-Eyota scored 42 points in the paint and outrebounded Fairmont 48-41.
Blattner and Hintz each posted double-doubles for Dover-Eyota.
Blattner finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds, Hintz with 10 points and 16 rebounds.
"We had the whole town of Eyota here supporting us," Blattner said. "It's great to make that mark in history of being the first ones here."
Roseau 50, Esko 37: According to Google Maps, it's a 5-hour, 51-minute drive from Roseau to the Twin Cities. That is as good a reason as any for the Rams' 50-37 victory over No. 3-seeded Esko (26-5) in the Class 2A quarterfinals. No sense in making that drive again so soon.
As they have all season, the Rams (25-6) were led by the Borowicz sisters: Kiley, a sophomore, and Kacie, an eighth-grader. Kiley scored 23 points, making eight consecutive free throws in the final six minutes, and Kacie added 20. In fact, only three players scored for the Rams. Junior Amelia Johnson had the other seven points.
"They're special players," coach Kelsey Didrikson said of the Borowiczes. "It's good to have them on our side."
"When one of us has a bad game, the other does, too," Kiley said. "But when we start playing well, we just go and feed off each other."
Esko was making its 11th state tournament appearance and second in a row, having finished third in 2014. Roseau, on the other hand, was making just its third trip to the tournament and first since 2000.
"This is so huge for Roseau," Kiley said.
"Even the hockey team was there for us, and that usually never happens."