Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Journal Star Article on the Super
If not for two bad four-minute stretches, Galesburg might be heading to the Class 3A girls basketball state semifinals this weekend.
But because of those eight minutes, Country Club Hillcrest is. The Hawks beat Galesburg 77-70 on Monday night to win the Pontiac Supersectional.
Hillcrest (28-2), which finished second in 3A a year ago, got off to a 14-2 start against the Silver Streaks (28-7). Galesburg, which has jumped on teams early throughout the postseason, didn’t score until the 5:15 mark, on a putback by Myra Diggins. The Streaks’ first 3-pointer didn’t come until 3:26 to play, but by that time, they were mounting a comeback.Galesburg scored 12 in the last 3½ minutes of the first quarter and ended the period down 20-16.
“I think we got a little comfortable at that point,’’ Hillcrest coach John Maniatis said. “Other games that we’ve played this year, when we jump on somebody like that, they give up.’’
Not only did the Streaks not give up, they took the lead midway through the second quarter, on a 3-pointer by Jessica Howard.
“They didn’t get snowballed,’’ Maniatis said. “They took the shovel and smashed it.’’
Galesburg led 34-32 at halftime and increased it to five points early in the third quarter. But then came the other key four-minute stretch.
With four minutes left in the third quarter, Hillcrest went on a 12-point run and Galesburg ended the period trailing 52-44.
“The third quarter was a nightmare for us,’’ said Galesburg coach Evan Massey, whose team had nine turnovers in the period.
Still, the Streaks had life. They cut the Hawks’ lead to four points, 70-66 with 58 seconds left, on a layup by Sadee Hamilton.
Hillcrest scored the next three on free throws, but Howard hit a 3 to make it 73-69.
After another Hillcrest free throw, Diggins was at the line with a chance to cut the deficit to three. She made one with 25 seconds left, and the margin was four.
But Galesburg was forced to foul, and Hillcrest made three of four free throws in the final 20 seconds to hold on.
Turnovers and putbacks hurt the Streaks the most. Hillcrest had 18 offensive rebounds and Galesburg had 27 turnovers.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t eliminate the second shots,’’ Massey said. “That was the biggest thing. They kept going to the basket right up to the very end and we just needed to get the rebounds off of that, and we didn’t.’’
Howard finished with 22 points and six 3-pointers. She finished with 139 3s for her season; that broke by one the state record set by Kassie Drew of Anna-Jonesboro.
Jamie Johnson had 10 points for Galesburg.
Jahmia Phillips led Hillcrest, with 22 points and 16 rebounds. Shannisse Heady scored 16.
The Hawks have been in the supersectional three years in a row, and Maniatis thought that played a part in their victory.
“I think when a team starts hitting those knockout punches on you, I think experience plays dividends,’’ he said. “When they took that five-point lead after we had a 14-2 lead early in the game, a younger team may have crumbled at that point, but I thought our kids showed a lot of perseverance.’’
Massey felt the same about his team’s ability to overcome the early deficit.
“I’ve had teams (where) we’ve been at this point and that happened and you had to yell like crazy and plead with them to stay with it,’’ he said. “This was not a group you needed to worry about that at all. It was unfortunate that early in the game, things I thought we might be able to get defensively, obviously we couldn’t.’’
And then there were those eight minutes.
“The first four minutes and that four-minute stretch in the third quarter, they totally dominated us enough to beat us,’’ Massey said. “And I think the other 24 minutes, we were probably up 15. But that’s not how you play the game.’’
Maniatis had nothing but praise for the Streaks’ effort.
“They were just hitting on all cylinders in the first half and exploiting us,’’ he said. “They have an outstanding system that’s going to take their area by storm. They have great kids who can shoot the rock. We were very fortunate to win that game.’’
Posted by Massey Basketball