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Eastview's Emee Udo (3) drives to the basket in the Lightning's 57-38 win over Lakeville North. Photo by Jon Laqua.
Eastview's Hana Metoxen (31) drives to the basket in the Lightning's 57-38 win at Lakeville North. Photo by Jon Laqua
No. 1 Eastview may have just concluded one of the toughest stretches it will ever have this season.
Its last three games only consisted of road visits to No. 8-ranked Chaska, No. 5 Hopkins and No. 3 Lakeville North.
After two narrow road wins, each by two points over Chaska and Hopkins, the Lightning flexed their muscle in a South Suburban Conference clash with rival Lakeville North, beating the Panthers 57-38 on Friday at Lakeville North High School.
Kari Opatz led the Lightning with 14 points, 13 coming in the second half. She hit four three pointers in the second half, which helped Eastview extend what was a slim four point lead after the first into a comfortable 46-27 advantage midway through the second.
"We started to be more aggressive going to the bucket and once we did that, we were able to get open looks outside," Lightning coach Melissa Guebert said. "Once we did that, it just opened up our offense and forced them to maybe change theirs up a little bit."
"Once we got her going, it's a good thing for us," Eastiew junior forward Hana Metoxen said. "She played really well for us, especially in the second half."
Opatz did not have the open looks in the first and her only point came on a free throw.
Guebert said Opatz just had to get loose and play her game.
"I think she was a little tentative in the first half, so once she hit one shot, she really opened up," she said.
Lakeville North took a brief lead in the second half, scoring the first five points, but Eastview scored the next 18 and accumulated a 17 point with under 11 minutes left.
The Lightning hit seven three pointers in the second half, which proved to be the difference as Lakeville North could not match them in that department.
When the Panthers snuck out to guard the perimeter, Eastview was able to get the ball back inside.
"I just told our girls to stay in the corner and they will come out and guard you," Guebert said. "When they did that we continued to stay aggressive and went back to the basket."
Friday was the conference opener for both team. Lakeville North drops to 5-3 with the loss and Eastview remains unblemished with a 6-0 record.
"We love playing in big games like we have and we love coming to Lakeville North because they are a great team," Metoxen said. "The last three games have been a lot of fun and against three great teams.
"This one was a big one and I am happy for our team we were able to win the way we did."