Hinckley-Big Rock weathered a back-and-forth first half of Thursday’s Class 1A Hinckley-Big Rock Regional title game against Harvard Christian and dominated the second half en route to a 62-35 win.
The Royals held Harvest Christian to only 10 second-half points. It was the eighth consecutive regional title for the Royals.
“I told the kids that sometimes you have a game plan and you stick to it for 32 minutes, and that might not show up until later,” Burks said. “We had a game plan, we stuck to it, it didn’t show up in the first half, but I thought we really wore them down. I thought they were really winded with the pressure we put on them, and it paid off in the second half.”
When point guard Jacqueline Madden picked up her second foul in the first quarter, Burks decided to sit her for most of the rest of the half, and Harvest Christian (15-11) was able to hang around. An 8-0 run late in the second quarter gave the Lions a 25-23 lead with 25 seconds left in the half.
But H-BR senior Lauren Paver kept things together for the Royals (16-13). She scored 11 of her game-high 30 points in the second quarter, including a three-point play with 0.4 seconds left in the half that wound up giving the Royals the lead for good, 26-25.
“She’s our main ball handler, so I knew we had to pick things up and not get down because she’s out,” Paver said of surviving with Madden on the bench. “We had to keep it going, and we did.”
In the second half, Madden was back, and the defense stifled Harvest Christian. The Royals scored the first nine points of the half, seven coming from Paver, to push the lead to 35-25. A 13-2 run that started in the third quarter and ended with six minutes left in the fourth pushed the lead to 54-33. For good measure, the Royals also scored the final eight points of the game.
“All year long, we have battled on giving everything we’ve got,” Harvest Christian coach Rich Detamble said. “That first half, we gave it all on the floor. If the game was only a half, I think we can compete with anybody.”
Sophomore center Rachel Oostdyk led the Lions with 17 points. Junior Kylee Knox added 12 points. Madden scored 15 points for the Royals despite her foul trouble.
The Royals will face Morgan Park Academy, a 54-38 winner over Bridgeview Universal Thursday, on Tuesday at 8 p.m. in the Class 1A Harvest Christian Sectional semifinal.
“Whoever is there to play will come out with it, and we want to be there,” H-BR senior Andrea Binkley said. “We want to win. We just have to get mentally prepared and we’ll do our best.”