Class 3A regional girls' basketball
Prairie Central was able to get out to a nice lead early and never did allow Pontiac to get in front in their matchup in the first round of the Class 3A LaSalle-Peru Regional Monday night.
As a result, the Hawks advanced with a 50-44 victory over the Indians and will now face top L-P seed Galesburg tonight.
“I’m proud of the girls, they’re peaking at the right time,” said PC head coach Mark Davis. “For the most part, we executed the way we wanted to and got the game.”
This was especially true early, which is when the Hawks took control of their fate. Hannah Conlisk had a basket and two free throws, Katelyn Steidinger hit from the right side and Allison Cagley buried a 3-pointer as Prairie Central took a 9-0 lead.
Grace Gschwendtner hit a free throws with 3:23 to go in the opening frame to get Pontiac on the board.
Prairie Central rode the hot hand of Conlisk and freshman Elly Haberkorn in building a 24-9 lead in the second quarter. They combined for 11 points in the surge.
“We worked the ball around, they made some good passes,” Davis said.
Everything was going the Hawks’ way as they took a 32-19 lead into the break. The game was now down to who was going to make the better adjustments.
It seemed it was Pontiac. The Indians began by chipping away some of the deficit to trail 37-28 by the start of the fourth quarter.
Haberkorn scored 26 seconds into the final frame to push the PC lead to 39-28. It took nearly three minutes before the hawks scored again, and six minutes before they made another field goal.
“Give Pontiac credit, they came back and made it a good game,” Davis said.
Pontiac’s surge started when Megan Masching scored just after the Haberkorn basket. Rebecca Rich also scored and PTHS head coach Dan Gschwendtner got a timeout with his team down 39-32.
Cam Feddern scored after a PC turnover and Grace Gschwendtner found her target to make it a three-point game with 4:46 remaining.
Free throws from Cagley and Kylie Vogel put the Hawks up six, but Jamie McKee scored off an inbound play and Feddern made two tosses to draw the Indians to within two, at 42-40.
Molly Lane drained two free throws but Feddern hit from 15 and Masching connected from the baseline to even the game at 44-44 with 1:37 left.
Pontiac had finally gotten even, but the thing that mattered to the Indians was getting on top. It didn’t happen.
“We clawed back, but then we decided to rush too much when we did come back,” Coach Gschwendtner said. “I can’t fault them for their effort, but we had to make better decisions.”
Haberkorn scored on a layup but missed the and-1, still the Hawks were on top by two.
Feddern missed a 3-pointer when her shot rattle in and out, and Masching didn’t get the bounce on a 17-footer.
Vogel made the first of two free throws with 30.3 seconds to go, and then got the rebound. She was fouled again and made a toss to make it a two-possession game. Lane sealed the victory with two throws with 13.8 seconds left.
“The story of our season seems to be we don’t play a full four quarters,” Gschwendtner said. “Again, we played two quarters out of four and it doesn’t work out in your favor when you do it that way.”
The difference down the stretch was execution. The Hawks were able to make the plays at the critical time.
“Vogel got a couple big rebounds at the other end when they missed and we got to the free throw line and made some key free throws,” Davis said. “Rebounds and free throws were the keys for us.”
Haberkorn led Prairie Central with 17 points. Steidinger added 10 and Conlisk chipped in 9 points. Cagley threw in 6 markers while Lane and Vogel each had 4 points.
Gschwendtner and Feddern led Pontiac (8-17) with 12 points apiece. Masching checked in with 8 with McKee adding 4 points. Cassidy Ringle, Amanda Fox, Rich and Noonan each had 2 points.