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Girls basketball: East Chicago runs out of gas in semifinals

Updated: January 30, 2013 6:11AM



SOUTH BEND — East Chicago Central just could not put together enough effective rebounding and shooting in the final minutes of its semifinal game in the South Bend Washington Holiday Tourney Friday evening, losing 70-56 to the host Panthers.

Washington (11-3) just couldn’t shake the Cardinals (4-6), but the Panthers pulled away in the final minutes for the win.

“We hung with one of the better teams in the state, in their own gym, in their holiday tournament, and against a larger, hostile crowd,” said East Chicago coach Maurice Scott. “We gave them a game, we were within 10 with four and a half minutes to go. But we gassed out, we didn’t play defense for six or seven times down the court, and it really hurt us. Our bench is a little shorter than theirs, and I think they were in better shape — we’ll be working on that in the weeks to come.”

EC was led by Tiajaney Hawkins with 15 points, Denitra Brown 12 and Shareese Billups with nine.

East Chicago took care of business in the first round, easily defeating New Prairie 64-36.

Against the Cougars, the Cardinals put four players in double figures, with Hawkins scoring 13 (plus 11 boards), Natasha Jones and Brown 12 each, and Dariyelle Ricks 10.

“It is nice to see four girls scoring in double-figures,” Scott said after that win. “It is good to see Natasha Jones in double figures, I think Jones can improve her scoring.”

The Cardinals opened up a 10-2 lead in the first quarter, and by the half it was 33-11.

“We put a lot of pressure on them, we used our defense to create offense, and we had a couple of nice runs to give us a nice cushion,” Scott added.

Hawkins also pulled down 11 rebounds and handed out four assists for a strong all-around game.

Laniah Davis came off the bench and made a strong presence inside to finish with eight rebounds and three blocks.

“She kind of gave us a spark in the first half,” said Scott. “She is beginning to understand her role., being down low. In fact, a lot of girls are beginning to understand their roles.



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