Eastview appears primed to make another state tournament run.
The Lightning used a height advantage to dismantle Rosemount 59-49 in the Class 4A, Section 3 championship Thursday at Hutton Arena at Hamline University. It's Eastview's sixth consecutive section title, the last three after final victories over the Irish.
Andrea Abrams, a 6-0 junior forward, scored 11 points in the first seven minutes, making three three-pointers. The last two came during an 11-0 run that gave Eastview a 22-12 lead.
"It helps having three 6-footers who can defend and shoot the ball well," Eastview coach Molly Kasper said. "We wanted to use our height to protect the paint on defense."
The No. 5-ranked Lightning (23-6) then went to work on the interior offensively, led by 6-1 senior guard Rachel Ranke and 6-2 junior forward Megan Walstad. Eastview closed the half on a 22-1 run to take a 33-13 lead at the intermission. Walstad finished with a team-high 15 points, and Ranke wound up with 14.
"It was really important for us to get off to a good start," Walstad said. "We're playing our best right now."
Rosemount (17-12) got no closer than 10 points in the waning seconds of the second half. Senior guard Maddy Olson led the Irish with 16 points.
The matchup marked the return of Rosemount coach Chris Olson, who suffered a heart attack while running with his physical education class last Friday morning, to the Irish sidelines. He sat on the bench in a less active role as Kirstee Rotty took over the team.
Kasper served as an assistant coach under Olson before taking over the Eastview program two years ago.
"We have a friendly rivalry," Olson said. "It's not a rivalry until you beat them, right? Well, we haven't beaten them since 2006."