Hall knocks out PC, St. Bede tops Seneca in OT; will meet for title
SPRING VALLEY — Fans who stuck around for both games Wednesday night at the Hall Class 2A girls regional were treated to two excitedly different contests.
In the evening's opener, the host Lady Devils, led by cousins Hanah and Janessa Hart, blew the game open early and kept piling on the points to cruise to a 49-21 win over Putnam County, ending the Lady Panthers' season at 17-14.
In the tooth-and-nail second game, No. 5 seed St. Bede overcame an 11-point deficit in the third period to tie Seneca 46-46 at the end of regulation and complete a 52-50 overtime upset of the No. 3 Fighting Irish, who bow out the year at 22-6.
The Lady Devils (19-8) and Lady Bruins (15-14), meeting for the third time this season, will square off Thursday night for the regional title, with a tip-off at 7 p.m. in Red Devil Gym.
Hall 49, Putnam County 21
Hall (19-8) was quick to dismantle whatever game plan Putnam County planned to use against them, starting off the game with a 12-0 run that turned into a 16-6 first period lead.
Powered by points leaders Hanah Hart (19) and Janessa Hart (14), the Lady Devils hit the court running and never let up, with the Hall defense shutting down outside shooting opportunities for the Lady Panthers.
"They did a nice job of taking away everything we had," PC coach Jared Sale said. "They got off to a fast start tonight and we didn't, unlike Monday. A 12-0 (deficit) is hard to come back from."
Hall coach Brian Holman was pleased to see his team's play fall into place early.
"Yeah, we executed awfully well," he said. "We finally put some things together toward the end of the season, and that's probably one of our better efforts.
"I thought we played hard on the defensive end. Even the baskets they made, we made them tough to get.
"We've got a lot of stuff we can do, it's just a matter of whether it's going to work and look good."
Hall continued to plow their way through the next period, ending the half ahead of PC 27-14, helped in no small part by Janessa Hart stepping up her presence in both the paint and perimeter.
"When we played them at their floor earlier this season, I had trouble guarding the post against the two people they had on me," Hart said. "But we practiced on it, and that helped me a lot with my rotations."
"Janessa deserves the credit," Holman said. "She's been an absolute force, and I'm awfully proud of her."
The Lady Panthers' woes continued in the second half, outscored 11-0 in the third period and 11-7 in the fourth.
Gabby Englehaupt (6) and Jacyln Cinotte (5) also kept the Hall offense rolling throughout the game.
Putnam County's Madelyn Dzierzynski (8) and Lindsey DiazDeLeon (6) led the scoring effort for the Lady Panthers.
St. Bede 52, Seneca 50
Coming off a 48-42 win over Somonauk on Monday that was no cakewalk either, the St. Bede Lady Bruins knew they would have to double up their efforts and then some against a rested Seneca team Wednesday evening.
"Third time playing 'em, I thought I knew them pretty well," St. Bede coach Tom McGunnigal said. "I felt pretty confident and I tried to pass that confidence on to the girls, and just kept steady with it."
Maggie Sons (16 points) led the way for the Lady Bruins, joined by Macy Bosnich and Hannah Johnson (10 each), along with Naomi Ochuba and Carly Eustice (6 each).
St. Bede was given numerous trips to the charity stripe in the overtime, but only went 4 for 12 in free throw shooting (6-19 overall).
The four that Sons made, plus a bucket by Ochuba, were enough to burst Seneca's bubble and hopes for a regional title shot.
The Lady Bruins won the opening tip and the first score of the game, but traded the lead back and forth until a Eustice 3-pointer brought the end of the first period to a 10-10 tie.
One problem St. Bede had to deal with early on was turnovers.
"Yeah, we were playing too fast and not waiting for people to get into position," McGunnigal said. "We got a little more active, a little more smart and seeing things slower, and we were able to turn around and make some plays."
The Lady Bruins got up to a 17-12 lead in the second period but soon saw the score turn around to a 25-22 advantage for the Fighting Irish at halftime.
Helping get Seneca back on track were points leader Aberita Jashari (13) and Lexi Greve (11), along with Brooklyn Giertz (8).
"We just had to calm down," Sons said. "I told them we're fine. We were still in the game and we had a whole half left."
Eustice made a free throw to start off the second half, but play quickly came to a halt when Jashari came down hard on the floor and immediately grabbed her right ankle. After a few tense moments, she was taken to the sideline.
Seneca then went on a 9-0 run to get out to a 34-23 lead and finished the third period still ahead 39-32.
"A couple times we lost our heads there," McGunnigal said. "They really got a run when (Jashari) went down, it inspired them."
In the fourth period, however, it was Sons who inspired her teammates by pulling off one of her patented steal/layup combos to help push her team to a 40-40 tie and a 44-42 lead.
Johnson was able tie it up 46-46 for the Lady Bruins just before fouling out of the game. The tie stuck until the end of regulation time, forcing an OT.