It was just a matter of time.
Eastview players said they believed that Park Center couldn't stay as hot as it was in the first half. As long as they remained composed and played their own game, the pendulum would swing their way.
That mind-set proved valuable at the Lightning rallied from a deficit as large as 12 points in the first half to defeat Park Center 75-65 in overtime Tuesday in the Class 4A quarterfinals at Target Center. Megan Walstad had 24 points and Macy Guebert scored Eastview's first seven points of overtime to send the Lightning to the Class 4A semifinals for the sixth consecutive season.
Park Center, which also boasts a solid state tournament pedigree, opened the game shooting like it was a summer evening in the driveway. The Pirates hit seven three-pointers in the first half en route to a 30-26 halftime lead.
"The number one thing we cared about was composure," Eastview coach Molly Kasper said. "We knew they were going to make runs. Park Center is a team of runs. We just had to trust our process."
In the second half, Eastview (24-6) shut down the perimeter, forcing Park Center to alter its game. The Lightning built a six-point lead on the inside play of Walstad and Rachel Ranke's ability to get to the free-throw line (nine of 11).
"We knew what we wanted to do and, at halftime, we were telling each other we have to stick together and play our game," Walstad said. "When we play our game, I don't think anyone can beat us."
Park Center (24-6) managed to rally, however, and sent the game to overtime when Ann Simonet hit an NBA-length three-pointer late in the fourth quarter, tying the score 58-58.
Eastview took control quickly in overtime. Guebert, conjuring up images of older sister Madi — the 2015 Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year — hit a three-pointer and a pullup jumper to give Eastview the lead for good.
"I'm not sure if we ran out of gas or what," Pirates coach Chris VanderHyde said. "We gave it everything we had."