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Girls basketball: Noll pulls away from Wheeler after tight first half

Bishop Noll's Tori Keilman pulls rebound away from Wheeler's Allie Hellewge Allie Stevenssecond quarter Wheeler High School Thursday evening. |

Bishop Noll's Tori Keilman pulls the rebound away from Wheeler's Allie Hellewge and Allie Stevenson in the second quarter at Wheeler High School Thursday evening. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 19, 2013 3:18PM



VALPARAISO — It’s something Wheeler coach Dustin Nelson has gotten used to witnessing from the sideline.

The Bearcats played well for three quarters with effort, execution and determination.

But there was that one quarter that did them in, and on Thursday in the Greater South Shore Conference Tournament semifinals, it was the third quarter that helped Bishop Noll to a 51-43 victory over host Wheeler.

The Warriors (16-1) outscored the Bearcats 16-3 after being tied at 23 after two quarters.

“We played well for three quarters — if you look at our games this year, we play well in three of the four quarter,” Nelson said. “But as a coach I’m searching for what we need to do to have a consistent effort for all four quarters.”

The first half was filled with runs. Wheeler (8-9) started the game with eight straight points — six of them from Nickole Finch. Noll responded soon afterward with a 14-3 run on the strength of a couple 3-pointers from Naomi House. Wheeler ended the half with four points in the final 10 seconds, including a 12-footer from Finch to tie the game at the buzzer.

“They’re a good team, so we knew it would be on our end to slow them down,” Noll coach Vanita Gary said. “We really stressed playing 32 minutes.”

That was evident in the third quarter when the Warriors played patient, textbook basketball. The defense forced seven turnovers, and it led to easy baskets on the offensive end, five of them from junior Elena Sobilo.

“I think (Sobilo) was smart on her rotations and her defensive effort gave her confidence on the other end of the floor.,” Gary said.

Sobilo scored 14 of her game-high 16 points, which was matched by House.

“After our halftime talk, I guess we woke up,” Sobilo said. “(On defense) it’s mostly about your desire that takes you there.”

The Bearcats were down by 20 before a late 10-0 run got them back in the contest. But House’s fourth 3-pointer of the game with 1:49 left was the dagger that sealed Noll’s trip to Saturday’s championship at Calumet in which it will face Whiting, which cruised past Lake Station in the other semifinal. It’s a rematch of last week’s 61-53 overtime victory by the Warriors that sealed their first GSSC regular-season crown.



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