By MITZI THOMPSON
NEW WASHINGTON —
Borden did have some answers for the eighth-ranked hosts in the first round of the Class A New Washington Girls’ Basketball Sectional Tuesday night, but just not enough of them.
The Mustangs overcame a third-quarter Braves run and held on to win 56-43, thus advancing to the Friday night semifinals where they will meet Rock Creek at 7:30 p.m.
“We are speechless,” said Courtney Amick, who dished out a game-high six assists and grabbed 12 rebounds for New Wash, which won a close regular-season game with the Braves, 49-46, back in November. “We knew, against Borden, we had to go out and play our game. They're really tough and really aggressive, and we had to work the ball around to get through their defense. We knew it would be a fight.”
The bulk of Amick’s assists came in the first seven minutes of the game when the junior guard found teammate Caroline Ricks underneath the basket four times, helping the Mustangs to a quick 13-6 lead.
“Caroline and I have been playing together forever,” Amick said. “I know to look for her all the time. When I see her underneath, I try my best to get it to her.”
Ricks, the team’s 5-foot-11 forward, who finished with 17 points and 17 rebounds Tuesday, rolled her right ankle with less than a minute to go in the game and left the school on crutches.
“It’s one of those things we will just take day-to-day,” said New Wash coach Terry White. “She’s been told to stay off of it for a couple days, and that’s fine because (our next game) is not until Friday.”
Senior Kriston Sarver also scored 17 for the Mustangs and junior Ashley Johnson added 16.
The Braves (13-7) were led in by Carson Casey’s 13 points and eight rebounds.
Junior guard Shelby Kirchgessner scored 12 for the Braves, all in the second half and many during what could have been a pivotal point of the game.
Trailing by 10 early in the second half, Borden went on a 15-3 run during which Kirchgessner scored 10 including a fast-break layup, a jumper and two three-pointers, giving the Braves their first lead of the game, 34-33.
“We lost our composure,” said White, who admitted that this wasn’t the first time his team had lost its cool during intense moments. “But we’ve never done it to the point where we’ve lost the lead. I think — and I told them this during a timeout — I think sometimes we can be our own worst enemies.
“Borden is a competitive team. We felt like, coming in, we had to out-compete them on every single possession, and at times we didn’t do that tonight. This was one of those times.”
But the Mustangs regained the lead just seconds later on a pair of free-throws by Ricks which spurred a 17-3 run that carried over into the fourth quarter and gave New Wash the 50-37 lead with just two minutes to go.
“We played hard,” said Borden coach Terry Rademacher. “They just played better. We came in fully expecting to win, and it’s disappointing when you expect to win and you play hard but you wind up ending your season.
“New Washington just did a lot of good things. They have too much size, too much strength, and we couldn’t stop their points under the basket.”
The Mustangs scored 42 of their 56 in the paint.
SOUTH CENTRAL JUMPS ON CAI EARLY
The Rebels jumped out to a 12-5 first quarter lead behind hot-shooting junior guard Kelsey Miller and never looked back en route to a 47-28 win over Christian Academy in the New Washington Sectional opener.
Miller finished with a game-high 15 points with two three-pointers, leading her team to a semifinal meeting with Lanesville on Friday at 6 p.m. The Rebels (7-14) defeated Lanesville during the regular season 47-28 just a little more than a month ago.
The Warriors lose four seniors off this season’s 5-14 squad, including Tuesday night’s leading scorer Nicole Kauchak, who provided 11 points.