Girls Basketball: Eastview, Robbinsdale, Sauk Centre, Lyle/Pacelli win state championships
MINNEAPOLIS--Eastview of Apple Valley completed its undefeated season in dramatic fashion with a 68-63 victory over Hopkins in the Class 4A state championship game in front of 4,885 at Target Center Saturday.
MINNEAPOLIS-Eastview of Apple Valley completed its undefeated season in dramatic fashion with a 68-63 victory over Hopkins in the Class 4A state championship game in front of 4,885 at Target Center Saturday.
It was the first championship for the top-seeded Lightning (32-0) since 2014 and second overall. In three other championship game appearances, Eastview was the 4A runner-up-2000, 2003, and 2015. In the 2015 championship game, Eastview lost to Hopkins.
Second-seeded Hopkins, a six-time 4A champion since 2004, was runner-up for the third consecutive.
It was Eastview's second victory over Hopkins this season. Over the holiday break when Hopkins was the top-ranked in 4A, Eastview, then No. 2, recorded a 66-56 victory.
Eastview senior forward Megan Walstad helped ensure that Hopkins wouldn't get a measure of revenge by scoring 20 points and grabbing seven rebounds. Senior forward Mariah Alipate added 15 points and nine rebounds as Eastview held off a furious Hopkins (28-4) comeback attempt in the final frenzied seconds.
The Royals pulled to within 64-63 with 32.5 seconds left in regulation when junior guard Dlayla Chakolis grabbed a rebound and muscled in a put back. The Royals, however, couldn't get any closer or vault ahead of the Lightning.
With three seconds remaining in regulation, senior guard Raena Suggs had a three-point attempt to tie bounced twice on the rim with four seconds left before being secured by Eastview.
Hopkins sophomore point guard Paige Bueckers finished with 37 points, four rebounds and two assists. Chakolis contributed 15 points and eight rebounds.
Bueckers scored 23 points in the first half for the Royals. She was 9 of 13 from the field, including 3 of 3 from three-point range in the opening 18 minutes.
Robbinsdale 49, Northfield 37
MINNEAPOLIS-The top-seeded Robbinsdale Cooper Hawks made their first state tournament trip a memorable one by recording a 49-37 victory over No. 2 Northfield in the Class 3A championship game Saturday.
Junior guard Aja Wheeler scored 15 points to fuel an aggressive offense that paved the way to Cooper's first state championship in a girls athletic activity since the school's softball team won the 2A crown in 1985.
The Hawks, coached by former St. Paul Central and Minnesota Gopher standout Kiara Buford, finished their historic season 29-2. Buford was a state champion as a player in 2007 and 2008 with the Minutemen.
Buford is just the second person to win a Minnesota championship as a player and as a coach. In 1983, Lisa Sukalski led Henderson to the 1A title, and in 2001 coached St. Michael-Albertville to the 2A championship.
Cooper built a six-point lead in the early minutes of the second half before Northfield cut the deficit to one with 12:05 left in regulation on a jumper by senior center Annalee Olson-Sola. But over the next three minutes, the Hawks' quick-strike offense pushed the lead to 10 points after two free throws by freshman guard Andrea Tribble.
Cooper's lead grew to a game-high 43-30 when senior guard Ja'Hyia Gaston converted a three-point play.
Senior guard Grace Touchette hit a baseline runner at the halftime horn to bring Northfield to within 20-18 at the break. She had a team-best 12 points in a back-and-forth opening 18 minutes and finished with 24 points. Senior center Annika Hoff contributed seven points and 14 rebounds.
Sauk Centre 63, Roseau 52
MINNEAPOLIS-Sauk Centre finally secured a girls basketball championship that had eluded the Mainstreeters in three previous tries.
The Mainstreeters captured the program's first championship following a 63-52 victory over Roseau in the Class 2A championship Saturday at Target Center.
It was the first championship for the top-seeded Mainstreeters (33-0) in four title-game appearances. Sauk Centre was the 2A runner-up in 2012, 2015, and in 2017 to Roseau which recorded a 75-64 victory over the Mainstreeters for its first championship.
Sauk Centre built a 12-point lead at the half, but then had to survive a ferocious rally by the Rams (26-6) in the second half before pulling away with seven free throws in the final 1:15.
Sophomore guard Tori Peschel scored 18 points and grabbed 15 rebounds for the Mainstreeters. Senior guard Kelsey Peschel also had 18 points. Senior guard Maesyn Thiesen had 17 points, including a key three-pointer that gave Sauk Centre a 55-43 lead in the midst of a Roseau surge.
The Rams had pulled to within 55-52 on a three-pointer by junior forward Emma Waling with 2:01 remaining before fouls and free throws followed in an attempt for Roseau to climb closer.
Junior guard Kacie Borowicz paced the Rams with 15 points, 12 rebounds and two assists before fouling out. Katie Borowicz, a freshman guard, had 10 points and seven assists.
Lyle/Pacelli 57, Sleepy Eye 33
MINNEAPOLIS-A first-time champion emerged in Class 1A when top-seeded Lyle/Pacelli recorded a 57-33 victory over Sleepy Eye in the championship game Saturday at Target Center.
Kristi Fett, a 6-foot-5 senior center, was a dominant force in the low post with 30 points and 16 rebounds to power the Athletics (32-1) to the first championship in program history. In 1980 as Austin Pacelli, the team was runner-up to Albany in 1A in the 2-class tournament format.
Junior guard Abigail Bollingberg chipped in 10 points, including five in the first half, as the Athletics completed their historic season on a 25-game winning streak. Lyle/Pacelli did not lose to a Minnesota team during the 2017-18 season. Its only loss was a 65-55 setback to Crestwood (Iowa) Dec. 16.
Lyle/Pacelli shot 57.1 percent in the second half in extending what had been a nine-point lead at the half. The Athletics led by 21 points three times in the second half stretched it to 24 when senior Brooke Walter made two free throws with 1:09 remaining in regulation.