The all-important rubber game went to Centennial as the Cougars beat conference rival Elk River 63-51 on Tuesday evening in Osseo, advancing to the state Class AA semifinals.
Jodi Anderson led with 24 points. The senior guard made 11 of 13 free shots and notched nine rebounds, four assists and four steals.
Marissa Frost and Jenna Guyer scored 11 each, Camille Cummings 10, Sydney Kubes five and Haley Mulberry two.
The No. 7 ranked Cougars and No. 5 Elks split in the regular season and each otherwise went unbeaten.
For Elk River, Elly Bahr sank 14 points, and Jordan Langbehn and Johanna Langbehn 11 points each.
In other quarterfinal games, Hopkins, tying the state record of 78 straight wins, beat Forest Lake 76-44, while Chaska won a clash of unbeatens over Stllwater 75-57 and Rosemount handed Farmington its first loss 52-44.
In the semifinals Wednesday at Target Center, Hopkins (16-0) meets Chaska (16-0) at 7 p.m., and Centennial (21-1) faces Rosemount (19-3) at 9 p.m. The championship game will be Friday at 8 p.m.
Centennial’s big edge came at the free throw line as they made 23 of 28 while the Elks were 3-for-7. The Cougars had six fouls and the Elks had 21.
The Elks kept the pressure on with three-point shooting — they were 10 for 24 — and a 33-28 rebound edge.
The Cougars led 8-0 and 12-5 with back-to-back three’s from Kubes and Cummings and a blow-by layup by Anderson. Another 8-0 run, with a 3-point play by Guyer and 3-point shot by Cummings, opened a 22-11 lead. The Elks got hot from long range and pulled even 24-24. The Cougars pulled away 33-26 at the half with Frost sinking a pair of 3-pointers.
The Cougars were up 41-28 before the Elks got hot behind the arc again and closed to 46-41. Anderson sank two free shots and a 3-pointer for a 10-point lead. After that, the Cougars made 10 of 12 free shots to keep the Elks at bay.
“We started to have sloppy moments in the second half when Elk River started picking up the aggressiveness on defense and looking to trap,” said Sobolik.
“It was reminding me of the second half of our Spring Lake Park game, but we were able to get the timidness out of the girls, get them to start being the aggressors on offense. We were able to get open looks and get to the free throw line.”