CHARLESTOWN – Senior guard Peyton Crace scored 16 points, including eight in the final 3:20 of the game, as Charlestown held off North Harrison for a 40-31 win in the first round of the girls’ Class 3A Sectional 30 tournament on Wednesday night.
“We’re just trying not to beat ourselves and play tournament basketball,” said Charlestown coach Scott Matthews. “And we guard the heck out of people.”
Charlestown led 28-21 going into the fourth quarter, but the Pirates lost some of the intensity that had gotten them the lead. In the opening moments of the fourth, Charlestown had more turnovers (3) than points (2) – that allowed the Lady Cats to pull within four (31-27) midway through the quarter.
That’s when Crace – stationed in the middle of the North Harrison zone – stepped up. A pair of driving baskets by Crace helped Charlestown keep the Lady Cats at bay, her layup at the 2:25 mark made it 35-29.
“I kept telling Peyton to look at the basket and drive it, to stay aggressive,” said Matthews.
North Harrison kept fighting — a basket by Diana Burgher made it 35-31 with 1:30 left in the game. It was 36-31 when Crace hit two free throws and a field goal in the final 26 seconds to ice it.
“We knew we had to get a comfortable lead just in case they made some late shots,” said Crace, adding that she was ready when stepping to the line for the game icing free throws.
“I’m confident, I know I’m going to hit these,” Crace said of her mindset.
North Harrison got off to a fast start in a low scoring first half, leading 4-0 midway through the first quarter as the Pirates could manage only three turnovers in the opening moments.
Late in the quarter, Charlestown got a spark from freshman guard Laney Hawkins, her 3-pointer made it 4-3 at the 3:15 mark. Moments later, the Pirates took a 5-4 lead on a basket by Crace.
It was 7-7 when Hawkins hit her second 3-pointer just inside the final minute of the quarter and the Pirates led 10-7 going into the second.
With sophomore forward Demaria King doing good work on the offensive glass, the Pirates were able to get some second chance opportunities in the second quarter. Her rebound led to a three-pointer by junior guard Skylar Cochran for a 13-10 lead.
North Harrison answered with a 4-0 run to lead 14-13 late in the second quarter but it was Charlestown that would take the lead at the break. Cochran, attempting a mid-court heave just before the buzzer, was fouled and hit all three free throws and the Pirates took a 16-14 lead.
It was Charlestown that got off to a fast start in the second half with senior guard Jackie Biscardi leading the way. Biscardi knocked down a 3-pointer, followed by a pair of free throws as the Pirates surged to a 21-14 lead with 5:23 left in the third quarter.
Crace took over after that with two driving lay ups to give Charlestown a 25-17 lead midway through the quarter.
North Harrison battled back to within four when Cochran knocked down a corner three-pointer that found every part of the rim before dropping – that made it 28-21 at the 2:30 mark of the third quarter. A free throw by Crace made it 29-21 with 33 seconds left and that was the score going into the fourth.
Cochran finished with nine points for Charlestown. North Harrison finishes the season at 13-10.
Charlestown (14-10) takes on the winner of the Scottsburg-Salem game on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. That game will follow the first semifinal matchup between Silver Creek and Madison at 6 p.m. The sectional final takes place on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
CLASS 3A, SECTIONAL 30 First round at Charlestown CHARLESTOWN 40, NORTH HARRISON 31
Charlestown 10 6 13 11 — 40
North Harrison 7 7 10 — 31
Charlestown – Laney Hawkins 6, Skylar Cochran 9, Peyton Crace 16, Jackie Biscardi 6, Andrea McCoy 1, Demaria King 2.
North Harrison – Chloe Jacobi 7, Diana Burgher 7, Skylie Burns 7, Lucy Robertson 6, Ali Saunders 4.
3-point goals – Charlestown 5 (Hawkins 2, Cochran 2, Biscardi 1); North Harrison 5 (Burgher 1, Burns 2, Jacobi 1, Saunders 1).