St. Paul Central's Lashondra Curtis and Osseo's Ayo Porte battled for the ball under the basket.
Osseo overcame a 12-point deficit in the first half to defeat St. Paul Central 63-56 on Wednesday afternoon at Target Center.
St. Paul Central led 17-5 early in the Class 4A quarterfinal, but Osseo finished the half on a 24-10 run to pull in front 29-27.
“We called a timeout and talked about how we needed to play and settle down and get going at the pace we knew we could compete,” Osseo coach John Rieser said.
Senior Phillis Webb and junior Ayo Porte each scored 10 points in the first half, with Webb scoring on a breakaway layup in the final seconds of the half to give the Orioles (22-8) its first lead since the opening minutes.
Poor free-throw shooting (7-for-19) ruined the Minutemen’s chances to rally late in the game, while the Orioles’ upperclassmen leadership held strong. Webb and Porte went on to collect a pair of double-doubles: Webb had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Porte had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Senior center Sade Chatman led Central (26-5) with 14 points and seven rebounds, and junior center Rayna Sherow added nine points and 10 rebounds.
“I don’t know what happened,” Sherow said. “I think we got a little too relaxed. Then it was tied. Then they had the lead at halftime. We’re usually better [at free throws]. They just didn’t fall all the way through.”
Kennedy ‘kids’ supply early firepower
Bloomington Kennedy 66, Anoka 48: The Eagles didn’t need to rely on their leaders. They got plenty of support from younger role players in thumping the Tornadoes.
Eighth-grade forward Jasmyn Martin was perfect (5-for-5 shooting) in the first half, and freshman guard Kiara Russell was sharp from three-point land (4-for-5 for the game).
“The [seniors and juniors] let me know that I can help the team,” Martin said. “I think our role was really important. We needed to get up, and we sparked things.”
The Eagles (27-3), who held a 32-21 lead at halftime, called their play to that point uncharacteristic, but they struggled in the first six minutes of the second half. The unseeded Tornadoes (20-10) managed to stick with the No. 2 seed for 24 minutes and trailed by only two, 34-32, with 12 minutes, 40 seconds to play.
Then Russell hit a three-pointer, triggering a 32-16 Kennedy run that made it hard to tell the game had once been close. Kennedy’s core found more rhythm, as Jade Martin (14 points) and Kenisha Bell (13 points) closed the door on the Tornadoes. Russell finished with 13 points and Jasmyn Martin had 10.
“They stepped up ’cause we weren’t really on,” Bell said. “If someone steps up, it makes us step up.”
Anoka was led by Claire Lundberg’s game-high 16 points.
Royals follow advice: ‘Survive and advance’
Hopkins 77, St. Michael-Albertville 58: Senior forward Nia Coffey and the Royals (29-1) couldn’t find the basket early against the Knights (24-6).
The opening nine minutes featured more missed layups than converted baskets. After Coffey won the opening tip and scored seconds later, the Knights turned over their first possession. Then Coffey struggled to find a rhythm. The unseeded Knights frustrated the top-seeded Royals, who were inconsistent from the free-throw line.
“First game was kind of rough,” Coffey said. “Survive and advance is what [coach Brian Cosgriff] told us, and that’s just what happened.”
The bits of scoring were enough to give Hopkins an early double-digit lead. With nothing else working, Coffey started shooting three-pointers and found the mark beyond the arc.
Coffey’s three first-half three-pointers, Taylor Anderson’s regular putbacks, and TT Starks’ double-double helped Hopkins comfortably pull away. Coffey had a game-high 22 points and nine rebounds. Anderson added 12 points and nine boards. Starks had 11 and 10.
The Knights trailed by about 20 points for most of the second half and never got closer than 16.
Jordan Hansen led the Knights with 15 points.
“The missed layups, no one expected that of us,” Hopkins freshman guard Nia Hollie said. “We have to slow down and be patient.”
Lightning defense clamps down on Mayo
Eastview 54, Rochester Mayo 40: The Lightning overcame a late Spartans comeback attempt to win, thanks in large part to forcing 27 turnovers.
“We wanted to play aggressively on defense,” Eastview coach Melissa Guebert said. “I think we set the tone with our defense.”
The teams were tied 13-13 before the Lightning closed the first half on a 19-1 surge. Rochester Mayo went more than 10 minutes without a basket.
A 32-14 halftime lead did not comfort Guebert.
“I don’t know if it was a cushion at all,” Guebert said. “I thought we lacked some focus and intensity in the second half.”
Eastview (28-2) led by as much as 24 points in the second half. But the Spartans chipped the deficit to 10 with 2:03 remaining.
“We were still confident we could pull through,” said Eastview sophomore forward Hana Metoxen, who scored 14 points.
Sophomore Madison Guebert, a Star Tribune All-Metro first-team selection, made four free throws down the stretch to secure the victory. She led all scorers with 27 points. Rachael Doll led Rochester Mayo (21-8) with 15 points.
The victory sets up a decisive third meeting with South Suburban Conference rival and No. 2 seed Bloomington Kennedy in Thursday’s semifinals. The teams split the regular-season series.
DAVID LA VAQUE