It took a little while to show itself, but Eastview's extensive big-game experience proved too much for Prior Lake to handle.
After playing a spotty first half, the No. 1-seeded Lighting played a nearly flawless second half, pulling away to defeat the Lakers 78-44 in the Class 4A quarterfinals Wednesday at Target Center.
"We came out a little spastic, like our hair was on fire," Eastview coach Molly Kasper said. "But we recovered."
Eastview (30-0), making its seventh consecutive state tournament appearance, was a bit reckless before halftime, allowing Prior Lake to dictate the style of play. The taller Lightning led 28-17 at halftime, leaning on its defense while the offense found its footing.
"We still held them under 20 points, so defensively we were still there," Kasper said.
Everything worked for Eastview in the second half. They shot 67.7 percent from the floor (21 of 31), outrebounded Prior Lake 21-7and turned the ball over just four times.
Eastview was led by forward Megan Walstad, who made nine of her 11 shots and finished with a game-high 21 points. Forward Mariah Alipate, back after missing all of last season because of a knee injury, added 20.
Prior Lake's McKenna Hofschild led all scorers with 27 points.
"They've been here before," said coach Mike Gidley of Prior Lake (16-14). "They're a veteran basketball team, they're precise and they play together. That is a complete team."
Kasper was asked if the second half was as good as her team has played all season.
"You'd like to think no," she said with a chuckle. "It works well when we can control and get good looks and can control the boards.
"There are areas of improvement and other areas we can kind of crisp up and clean up."