Girls basketball: Knox upsets Hanover in championship
By John O’Malley Post-Tribune correspondent December 28, 2012 11:44PM
Updated: January 30, 2013 6:11AM
CEDAR LAKE — There were few if any individuals other than Knox’s players and coaches who even thought the Redskins had a chance to win Hanover Central’s Winter Classic.
Redskins coach Dan Huizenga sported a look of utter satisfaction with the way his team performed in Friday night’s championship game.
With senior guard Nikki Frasure scoring a game-high 18 points and leading the way with her heads-up all-around play, the Redskins were able to accomplish what many observers believed to be the unthinkable.
That’s right. The team that had won only one game out of 11 entering the tournament shocked the field and the host Hanover Central Wildcats in the championship game with a 51-42 victory.
“I think we played more as a team in this tournament than we ever have this season,” Frasure said. “We struggled with that early in the season, but everything seemed to come together each game. This means a lot to us, especially when you think about coming (in here) with only one win. When you think about it, that’s pretty good.”
Frasure, normally a 3-point shooter, said she tried to concentrate more on driving to the basket and drawing fouls in the tournament, particularly in the title game.
“That’s what the coaches wanted us to do,” Frasure said. “We weren’t supposed to win this — at least according to our record — but we did pretty good.”
Huizenga said the team’s very difficult schedule has helped prepare and make them better.
“There’s a reason why we schedule the way we schedule,” Huizenga said as he talked to reporters following his team’s trophy presentation and postgame picture-taking.
“We tell the kids that and they don’t usually believe us or buy into that until about the sixth game of the season. Hopefully, we will use this tournament as a springboard and be able to build on this as the season goes on.”
The Redkins (4-10) led 9-7 after one period before falling behind 23-16 late in the first half. Knox then scored the last seven points of the half to tie the game at 23-all at the break on a driving basket by Miranda Shepherd with 2.4 seconds left.
Hanover Central took a 35-33 lead into the fourth quarter, but appeared to run out of gas in the final five or six minutes.
The Wildcats (8-4) were forced to play the entire tournament without star Blayr Poston, the team’s leading scorer and one of the best offensive players in the area.
Poston broke her left hand in practice last Saturday and is expected to be out for up to four weeks.
Tiphani Ward led Hanover Central with 12 points.
Wheeler won the third place game with a 43-40 double overtime win over Griffith prior to the championship game.
Wheeler’s Allie Stevenson was named to the All-Tournament Team as were Knox’s Frasure and Kaitlin Zachary, who was named the tourney’s Most Valuable Player.
Zachary scored 12 points in the title game and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Other players named to the All-Tournament Team were Bowman Academy’s Diamond Harvey, Morton’s Alexis Casas, Griffith’s Sammi Adams and Hanover Central’s Kristen Roper and Hannah Blue.