||More Sports||Sign up||School Finder|
Stagg's Mia DiGiacomo (33) puts a shot up between Bloom Township's Bria Gaines (12) and Katherine Strong (22) during the Hillcrest Holiday Classic girls basketball tournament in Country Club Hills Thursday, December 27, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Med
Stagg used three-pointers early to jump in front. The Chargers used them late to put Bloom on the brink of defeat.
But Bloom’s ability to rebound combined with some clutch passing and free throw shooting by Danielle King allowed the No. 8 Blazing Trojans to escape with a 49-46 victory and punch their ticket into Friday’s title game in the Hillcrest Holiday Classic.
Bloom will play No. 6 seed Hillcrest, which defeated No. 9 seed Rich South 65-59 in Thursday’s other semifinal.
Brianna Gaines totaled 14 points and 14 rebounds, Mariah Middleton 12 points, and King 10 points as Bloom improved to 11-4. Stagg (8-3) was led by the McMahon sisters, Revi and Casey, each of whom pumped in 18 points.
The Chargers led 46-45 with 2:49 remaining after Casey McMahon’s sixth three-pointer of the game.
On Bloom’s next possession down the floor, King found a speeding Katherine Strong with a perfect pass that Strong converted into a layup.
“We were attacking, looking for anything that worked to get us back in the lead,” King said.
Stagg, which hit 10 three-pointers on the night, went back beyond the arc, only to have Casey McMahon’s effort glance off the rim. Middleton rebounded for Bloom, leading to a series of events that saw the Blazing Trojans miss two free throws and a layup, only to get the loose ball each time.
King finally went to the line with 19.5 seconds remaining, and swished both shots. Stagg’s final trip down the court resulted in a three-point try to Revi McMahon that hit the front of the rim.
“There was pressure, but it was all about concentration, focusing on the shots,” King said of her free tosses. “I just took my time and tuned everything out.”
Stagg led by as many as seven points in the first half, hitting five times from three-point range. When the Chargers missed, however, Bloom didn’t allow a lot of second chances, outrebounding them 32-21.
Another big key for Bloom was the play of Middleton, who connected three times for six points during an 8-0 run to start the fourth period.
In Hillcrest’s win over Rich South, Dana Gettis scored 35 points but sat the final 6:52 with five fouls. Mariam Awoniyi added 13 points and Tanzania Sherrill nine for the Hawks (11-2).
Rich South (13-3), which roared back from as much as a 17-point deficit to go in front 52-50 after three periods, was led by Tierra Webb (22 points), DeAsia Garrett (12) and CiErra Garrett (11).
When an offensive foul by Gettis put her out of the game, it was 55-54 Hillcrest. Rich South. It almost seemed to throw the Stars off-kilter. They hit just three of their next nine free throws, and were 0-of-13 from the field.
Hillcrest clung tight from the free throw line, getting two each from Awoniyi, Tierra Sanders and Aliah Acker.
Sandburg 57, Homewood-Flossmoor 48: Samantha Youngwirth (18 points), Carly Katalinic (17) and Rachel Ruzevich (13) led the way as Sandburg (7-8) advanced to the fifth-place game. H-F (8-7) was paced by Syndi Johnson (21) and Jaievonna Norris (19).
Tinley Park 38, Lockport 31: Diamond Beatty’s 21 points led Tinley Park, which advanced to the fifth-place game. Anna Novak scored 12 points for Lockport (5-7).
Oak Forest 46, Harlan 42: Oak Forest (7-8) advanced to the consolation title game behind Kelly McEathron (22 points) and Maddie Baxa (7).
Phillips 44, Seton 34: Charlita Berry tallied 11 points and Ebony Bailey 10 for Seton (8-7).
Queen of Peace 53, Thornton 38: Hannah Lipman (14 points) and Courtnee Williams (13) starred as Queen of Peace (8-8) advanced to the fifth-place game. Kierra Reed scored 14 points and Briana Anthony 13 for Thornton.
T.F. North 35, Rich Central 33: T.F. North advanced to the fifth-place game as Taisha Johnson had eight points. Jalyse Chapman scored 10 for Rich Central (2-15).