Every team wants to be playing its best basketball when the postseason comes around.
Harvest Christian’s girls basketball team played arguably its best game of the season in Tuesday’s Class 1A Hinckley-Big Rock semifinal against Elgin Academy.
The 59-12 margin of victory tells the tale. But the way the Lions went about it has them excited about Thursday’s regional title game against the hosts.
Harvest Christian led 38-4 at the half, shooting 18-of-24 from the field with 16 assists on its 18 made baskets.
“We stressed that heavily,” Harvest Christian coach Rich Detamble said. “The more girls we get involved on offense, the better we are. The girls are starting to see that. It took a whole season to make them believe that it isn’t just one or two girls, it’s the whole team. If we can get everybody going like we gelled tonight, we’re a tough team to beat. We’re peaking at the right time.”
The Lions (14-10) scored the first 12 points of the game to set the tone against a short-staffed Elgin Academy team. The Hilltoppers (4-17) dressed only six girls, and began to wear down as the evening moved along.
“It’s a very young team,” Elgin Academy coach Bill Rodriguez said. “It took its toll. We condition as much as we possibly can, but when you’re playing against a much stronger team, it’s hard.”
Up 14-4 early in the second quarter, Harvest Christian proceeded to score the final 24 points of the first half and the first five points of the third quarter to push the lead to a staggering 43-4 and never looked back.
Center Rachel Oostdyk led the way with 22 points on 11-of-14 shooting from the field. Kylee Knox, who recently surpassed 1,000 career points, scored 14 and Morgan Lockwood added 10 points. Gabi Rodriguez grabbed 11 rebounds and Alex Rayappa dished out 10 assists in the win. Kaitlyn Pearson scored eight of Elgin Academy’s 12 points in the win.
Harvest Christian now prepares to play a Hinckley team looking for its eight consecutive regional crown on the Royals’ home court. Harvest is hoping to win its first-ever regional title.
“We’re not used to this,” Detamble said. “We’re a fledgling, young program looking for their first regional title. We want to be where H-BR is.”