- Associated Press - Sunday, March 23, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A late charge earned Eastview its first state girls basketball title.

Madison Guebert scored 29 points and the Lightning rallied from 12 points down in the second half to beat Bloomington Kennedy 64-61 and win the Class 4A championship Saturday night.

Kari Opatz scored 13 points for top-seeded Eastview (31-1) and Hana Metoxen had 11.

This was the third meeting of the season between the South Suburban Conference rivals. Eastview won 65-54 Jan. 16 and Bloomington Kennedy won 73-60 Feb. 14.

“We knew it could have gone either way,” Opatz said. “Luckily, it ended in our favor.”

Guebert scored on a drive with 49.9 seconds left to give the Lightning its first lead at 62-61. Opatz added two free throws with 18.2 seconds left before Tonoia Wade’s last-second 3-pointer was off the mark for the Eagles (25-7).

“The thing we’ve said all year about these kids is they have truly never quit, ever,” said Eastview coach Melissa Guebert, Madison’s mom. “For anybody that was watching this game tonight, that just shows you that when you don’t quit no matter what and keep working things can change.”

Kenisha Bell, a Marquette recruit, led third-seeded Bloomington Kennedy with 24 points, but just six came in the second half. Isieoma Odor and Lashayla Wright-Ponder each scored 11 and Wade finished with 10 for the Eagles, who also finished second last year.

In the final 18 minutes, the Lightning did a better job of using a team-oriented defense to slow down Bell, especially clogging the lane to stop her from attacking the basket.

“We always know that when you lock down on defense our offense will come,” Metoxen said. “Once we started getting some defensive stops we really started going.”

Down 57-45 with 7 minutes to play, Guebert and Emee Udo each had six points in a 15-4 run to get the Lightning within 61-60 with 1 minute to play before Guebert and Opatz scored the final four points.

“We all believed the whole time that we were in this even when we got down,” Madison Guebert said. “We know if we move the ball around and attack the basket and get open looks we can knock down shots.”

Kennedy led 16-6 and 24-12 before Opatz hit a pair of 3-pointers and Madison Guebert one to help Eastview tie the game at 26.

Odor blocked an Eastview shot before finishing a 2-on-1 with Bell and making a free throw for a 45-36 Kennedy lead barely 3 minutes into the second half.

Eden Prairie beat Lakeville North 48-44 for third place.