Roseville pulled away from Park Center with a big run midway through the second half, winning 61-45 for the Class 4A, Section 5 girls' basketball championship Thursday at Anoka High School.
Roseville (22-7) earned its first state berth since 2007, thanks largely to a 22-3 run to put away the Pirates. Raiders senior captain Kaylee Nelson hit a pair of three-pointers in the second half, and freshman center Tamia Ugass added four second-half baskets.
"We were able to handle the pressure much better [in] the second half," Roseville coach Jeff Crosby said. "All of a sudden we just started hitting shots, and the hustle plays and the loose balls were ours, and when that happens, you have a good shot at winning."
The third-seeded Raiders trailed 34-33 with 12 minutes, 42 seconds remaining before the run. They stretched their lead to as many as 18 points, led by Nelson, Ugass, sophomore forward Jayda Johnston and junior guard Jada Hood.
"We just knew that if we didn't do it … we weren't going to win," Johnston said. "That motivated us."
Johnston finished with a game-high 16 points and keyed many second-chance points with her offensive rebounding. Ugass added 14 points and Nelson and Hood each had 13.
Freshman Adalia McKenzie led fourth-seeded Park Center (19-10) with 11 points, and Meghan DuBois added 10.
"I felt the momentum kind of slip away when our shots weren't falling," Park Center coach Barb Metcalf said. "It does seem it's easier to play defense when the shots are falling, and tonight it was [Roseville's] night."