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Girls basketball: Blayr Poston carries Hanover to victory

Hanover Central's Blayr Postshoots over Knox's VictoriElliott during Hanover Central girls basketball sectional semifinal game held Hanover Central High School

Hanover Central's Blayr Poston shoots over Knox's Victoria Elliott during the Hanover Central girls basketball sectional semifinal game held at Hanover Central High School on Friday February 8, 2013. Charles Mitchell~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 10, 2013 6:49AM



CEDAR LAKE — One look in Blayr Poston’s eyes gave Doug Nelson the answer he was looking for.

Hanover Central’s standout guard asked her coach before the game if the Wildcats had beaten Knox before.

When Nelson said: “No.” Poston replied: “No?”

“What I saw when I answered her question was a pretty determined look in Blayr’s eyes,’’ Nelson said.

Poston, who missed Hanover Central’s Winter Classic championship game in late December when she broke her left hand, was thrilled to be playing the Redskins in Friday night’s first Class 3A, Sectional 18 semifinal game with a berth in tonight’s title game on the line.

Poston came out smoking. She scored 11 first-quarter points, hitting a trio of 3-point field goals and finished with a game-high 25, leading the Wildcats (14-7) to a 48-40 win over Knox (9-13) Friday night.

Rensselaer (15-7) beat Calumet (4-17) in Friday night’s second semifinal game, 52-36.

“We hadn’t ever beaten Knox and I was just so determined to beat them,’’ said Poston, who now has 1,326 points in her career. “I wanted to win this game mainly to get to the championship and to have the chance to win the championship, but we’re going to have to play harder and play better than we did tonight, if we want to win.’’

Poston, one of six seniors who’ve played in the sectional title game every year, wants badly to taste a championship again. After winning her freshman year, she’s lost the past two years.

“Being a senior it puts more in your heart,’’ she said. “You want to leave here as a sectional champion. It leaves you with a great feeling knowing that there’s nothing better than winning sectional your senior year.’’

The Cats led 16-7 after the first period, but Knox outscored them 16-6 in the second quarter to take a 23-22 halftime lead.

“We have to play for 32 minutes,’’ Nelson said. “I don’t know if we were getting a little lazy or what. I thought we played a terrible first half. We were just standing around settling for outside shots.’’

Hanover Central was down five early in the third quarter when Nelson inserted 6-2 freshman Lisa Gac into the lineup.

Gac blocked four shots, altered several others and changed the game in the paint.

“When I came in, I just wanted to concentrate on defense,’’ Gac said. “I wasn’t nervous at all. Brooke Sterkowitz told me to make believe it was a JV game. That just changed things for me, and I played relaxed.’’

In the nightcap, Rensselaer earned the opportunity to win its first sectional crown since 2006 with a comfortable win over Calumet.

Laura Tonner scored a game-high 20 points to lead the Bombers, while center Emilie Ziese contributed 17.

Rensselaer led 20-9 after the first period as Tonner scored 10 points in the first quarter and 15 in the first half.

The Bombers led 45-25 after three periods before Calumet’s Theresa Strong (19 points) scored seven fourth-quarter points to help the Warriors cut the deficit to 49-36 with 3:03 left.

Calumet, though, never got any closer the rest of the way.



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