NEW WASHINGTON — Host New Washington rolled to a 60-21 win over South Central in Friday night’s Class A Sectional 61 semifinals to earn a rematch against defending champion Lanesville.
The No. 6 Eagles thumped Rock Creek 66-19 in Friday’s first semi.
Coach Kirsti Holloway’s troops fell 63-53 to Lanesville in New Washington on Dec. 21. But the hosts come into tonight’s sectional final — tip is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. — a very hot team, having won its last seven contests.
“I believe in this team,” Holloway said. “I not only believe we can win tomorrow night, I believe we can win the whole thing. I have faith in them. They just need to have that belief.”
New Wash (13-11) had little trouble with the Rebels (2-21) from the outset, rolling to a 30-13 halftime lead and then extending it even further from there. The Mustangs scored the first 14 points of the third quarter and cruised the rest of the way.
The hosts forced 14 first-half turnovers, many of which came off steals or deflections in passing lanes as the Rebels were attempting to bring the ball up the court.
“Defense is going to be important against them,” Holloway said of Lanesville. “We need to keep our feet moving. We need to keep our rotations moving and we need to stay aggressive without putting Lanesville on the free throw line. The last time we played, they went to the line a lot more than we did, and we’re going to have to correct that.”
New Washington was led by senior forward Kalin Campbell, who finished with 12 points. Taylor James added nine and all 10 players for New Wash scored.
It wasn’t a perfect performance by any means by the Mustangs, who Holloway admitted will have to be at their best tonight against the powerful Eagles.
“We played good tonight, good enough to win,” she said. “It’s definitely going to take our best effort. They aren’t ranked in the Top 10 for no reason.”
In the early semifinal matchup, the Eagles (22-3) saw 11 players score as they pulled away early from the Lions (1-22).
But Lanesville didn’t manage to have the game’s high scorer. That honor fell to Rock Creek guard Leah Thompson. The junior nailed four 3-pointers and finished with 15 points.
The good news for coach Camille Leach is that Thompson returns next season, along with the entire squad, which will lose no players to graduation.