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Girls basketball: Morgan Township, LaCrosse reach Class 1A final

Updated: March 10, 2013 6:49AM



VALPARAISO — The third Washington Township-Morgan Township matchup in 21 days ended in familiar fashion. Morgan won 47-42 for the Cherokees’ (13-10) third win over the Senators (9-13) and a berth in the Class A Sectional 49 championship game.

“I’m so proud of our girls because we took their best shot in the second half, but we kept our poise,” Morgan coach Kevin Krieger said.

Morgan controlled much of the game’s first 20 minutes, as the Cherokees led 27-12 early in the third quarter. Hannah Murphy led Morgan with 12 points and eight rebounds in the first three periods.

But after a 4-for-18 first half, the Senators’ shots started falling in the second half. A 3-pointer from Natalee Kwiatkowski pulled Washington within four at the 2:20 mark of the third.

With Morgan ahead 31-28 to start the fourth, the teams mainly traded baskets in a back-and-forth final quarter, with Washington unable to ever tie the score or take the lead. Morgan went 5 of 6 from the floor and 6 of 8 from the free throw line to seal the victory.

“We tried to put the ball in Trina (Coleman)’s hands and she usually makes good decisions,” said Krieger. “The girls came through when the game was on the line. I think our experience last year really helped us tonight.”

Morgan’s opponent in the final will be LaCrosse, which earned its first-ever sectional final berth with a 54-34 win over Covenant Christian (10-12).

“This was our goal from the start; it’s huge,” LaCrosse (8-13) coach Brian McMahan said. “I’ve been waiting to see us jump out like that for a while. It was nice to see some shots dropping early.”

As McMahan said, the Tigers did start fast, leading 14-6 after one quarter and 26-11 by halftime. Ten points from forward Gabbie Sievers and nine from guard Alissa Tucker kept the Tigers’ offense in rhythm.

“Those two are our main scorers,” McMahan said. “When both of them are on at the same time, we usually do pretty well.”

Six turnovers in the third quarter kept the Knights from closing the gap on LaCrosse, which never led by less than 11 in the second half. Taylor Guse added nine second-half points to pace the Tigers’ offense.



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