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North Chicago's Caroyln Leonard (left) and Regina's Lindsey Welch fight for a rebound during their sectional basketball game at Vernon Hills. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
Third-seeded Regina slammed the door shut on any Cinderella hopes that No. 10 seed North Chicago might have had Tuesday night, thanks to a 63-56 win in the Class 3A semifinals of the Vernon Hills Sectional.
Senior Erin Gavin dropped in a game-high 20 points for the Panthers, who also got 15 points from sophomore Maggie Palmer. The Warhawks had trouble stopping Regina on drives to the basket much of the night, and allowed Regina to shoot 13-for-25 from the field in the second half.
"I thought we faught hard," Regina coach Kerry Durham said. "That's what my team is all about. Hopefully, we can carry this momentum into our next game."
Regina led 15-13 at the end of one — only to see North Chicago pull back ahead at halftime for a 31-30 egde. The Panthers then used a 10-4 run at the end of the third quarter to regain a 47-41 lead headed into the final eight minutes.
The Warhawks (13-15) managed to trim Regina's lead to five three different times in the fourth quarter, but would come no closer.
North Chicago freshman Tineesha Coleman finished with a team-high 16 points and nine rebounds before fouling out for the Warhawks with two minutes left in the game.
The Panthers (22-8) advance to face top seed Vernon Hills (28-2) Thursday the sectional title game, after the Cougars knocked off No. 4 seed Grayslake Central, 39-26, in the night's other semifinal contest.