Off-balance shots and failed layup attempts throughout the first half prepared St. Michael-Albertville girls’ basketball coach Kent Hamre for what the statistics would make clear.
Eastivew’s defense was dictating the game, causing the Knights frustration that Hamre had not seen since early-season games against Hopkins and Bloomington Kennedy.
“We were forcing a lot in the first half and it was pretty evident because we shot 22 percent,” Kent Hamre said. “Their defense took us out of a lot of things that we like to do.”
No.4 seed Eastview (25-5) built a 55-41 victory in its Class 4A state tournament quarterfinal game with tough first-half defense. An early 9-1 run gave the Lightning a double-digit lead they would hold much of the game.
With the victory, the Lightning advance to Thursday semifinal against No. 1 Hopkins.
“We pride ourselves on defense,” Eastview coach Melissa Guebert said. “The kids were really aware of who the shooter was.”
Guebert’s freshman daughter, Madison, scored 10 points in the first half. She tied Paige Palkovich for the team-high with 15. Amber Mehr added 10 points, all in the second half.
“We’re counting on our seniors right now and she did a nice job,” Melissa Guebert said.
St. Michael-Albertville (22-8) senior standout Christine Thorn scored a game-high 19 points and hit five three-pointers. She kept her team afloat by scoring nine of its points on three-pointers during one stretch.
“She was doing whatever she could to not let her season end,” Hamre said.
DAVID LA VAQUE
Paige Palkovich, Eastview
Scoring nine of her 15 points from the free throw line, Palkovich iced the game in the final minutes. Her ability to draw fouls while taking the ball through the lane kept her team on the offensive end.