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As the old quiche' goes... offense sells tickets, defense
wins games... This was so true tonight in front of a jammed pack gym on
their home court, the Lady Hawks advanced over the higher ranked T.F.
Early on, the Lady Hawks found themselves down by 10. This
offensive charge was lead by senior guard Dawn Luster and Karisma
Dawn Luster driving to the basket
Karisma Chapman from outside
Hillcrest was able to apply some
defensive pressure on the Meteors, causing them to force bad shots
from the outside and begin spiraling into a cold-zone. In fact, they
only made 4-of-21 shoots in the second quarter, went ice cold in the
final quarter, 2-of-19.
This offensive spiral
was ultimately due to bad shot selection but also with a knee injury to
Luster, who was on the bench getting treatment for most of the game.
Also the Hawks controlled senior center Jeanise Randolph, who scored
only 2 points in the first half and 11 for the entire game.
"We ran into a Hillcrest team that played a great game on its home
court," Meteors head coach Tim Zasada said. "We had the shots. Sometimes we
hit them and sometimes we didn't. We're a transition team and Dawn Luster
runs a lot of that."
Additionally, Randolph got into early foul trouble, which
changed their defensive strategy.
"We were able to withstand their storm," coach Maniatis said. "The game
plan was to let them hit from outside and shut down Randolph. But if
they had kept hitting from outside, it would have turned into a long
As the temperature drop from the perimeter
for the Meteors, the Lady Hawks found some momentum and put on
an 11-1 run from the t-e-am... Yolanda De La Torre finished with 16 ;
DePaul-recruit Uniquah Hampton added 12; sophomore Shannise Heady with 11;
and 5'2" Samirah Ali led everyone in the gym with 26. This is also a career
high for her.
"She brought her heart out here and was the key to our
game," said senior captain Uniquah Hampton. "She's got hops. She can jump
real high and she's real strong."
"I just tried to bounce back from last time, when I scored four points,"
Ali said. "I felt faster than everyone on the court tonight and I just kept
going [to the basket]."
The Meteors were led by Illinois-recruit
Centrese McGee with 23. She also snagged 16 boards. This team has
nothing to hold their heads down about. They have won 3 straight
conference titles as well as 3 straight regional crowns.
"They [Hillcrest] had a little bit more gas at the end," coach Zasada
said walking away.
I wonder what the championship meal will be this week.
Last week, as she mentioned in her weekly
diary with the Chicago Tribune,
they enjoyed Applebee's.
Up next for the Lady Hawks is a taste of De Ja Vu. Last
year in the Class 3A supersectionals they played Peoria Richwoods, who
came out victorious and won the 3A championship. So far, the
tournament for Hillcrest has been full of rematches: Rich Central, T.F.
North and now Richwoods. Game is set for Monday evening in Streator.
"It's a date of destiny," Maniatis said.
To witness the Lady Hawks victory at the sectionals
(2010) click one of the two videos below...
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