The Burnsville boys basketball team's state hopes were dashed March 14.
The second-seeded Blaze couldn't keep up with top-seeded Eastview in the second half, falling 82-64 to the Lightning in the Section 3AAAA title game at Farmington.
Burnsville was seeking its first state berth since 2008 and third in program history. The Lightning and the Blaze split during the South Suburban Conference season with both teams winning on the road. Burnsville won by two points (79-77) back on Feb. 6, while Eastview won 79-75 to end the regular season March 1.
The Blaze finished the season with a 12-17 overall mark (7-11 in the SSC) under first-year coach Rob Mestas. Eastview (18-11) was the only team in Section 3AAAA that went into the playoffs with a winning record.
Burnsville started the title game strong, leading 17-13 midway through the first half. Junior Daniel Rosenberg hit three of his five three-pointers in the first 10 minutes, finishing with a team-best 17 points.
Eastview ended the first half on a 21-10 run to lead 34-27 at the break. Rosenber hit his fifth three-pointer early in the second half to trim the Lightning's lead to 38-30.
But from there, Eastview took control behind the steady play of point guard Izaak Raspberry, the sharp shooting of Jaylen James and the inside presence of Zach Spann. James led all scorers with 21 points.
James also fed Spann with ally-op dunk that put Eastview up 20 points (63-43) with five minutes to play.
Seniors Julian Hutchinson and Hayden Johnson each finished with 13 points for Burnsville, while senior Sam Bardwell scored 8 and senior Ryan Allgood chipped in 7. Junior Mohamed Hassan scored 4 late points for the Blaze, while senior Torrey Bell scored 2.
Burnsville will have to replace nine seniors next year, including Marcus Shepley, Adonis Lamar and TJ Williams. But Mestas, who won the state's Mr. Basketball award in 1995 playing for Minneapolis Roosevelt, seems to have laid a good foundation in his first season at the helm.
The Blaze went into this year with three straight 20-loss seasons, including a 6-22 mark last winter. The last time the program had a winning record was in 2008-09.
Burnsville's other state appearance was in 2004 when it lost to Chaska in the Class 4A state title game.