Something magical must have happened on the sidelines Tuesday night when Hinckley-Big Rock took a timeout with 5:31 left in the third quarter. The Royals (17-13) had just fallen behind 31-30, but went on a 23-0 run out of the break and went on to knock off Morgan Park Academy 65-42 in the Class 1A sectional semi-finals at Harvest Christian. The Royals advance to play Luther North for the sectional championship on Thursday.
During one stretch of the 23-0 run, senior Lauren Paver scored 19 straight points. She finished with a game-high 38 points on 16-of-22 shooting from the field, all but one of those buckets being layups, including eight in transition.
“We just knew when we fell behind that we had to come out a play a lot better,” said Paver, who also had seven steals in the game. “We just came out with a lot more energy and started to make some plays on defense and that turned into points on offense. It was a lot of fun to get going like that.”
The Royals’ pressure defense forced Morgan Park Academy into 33 turnovers, including 14 in the third quarter alone.
“We didn’t really doing any thing differently other than turn up the intensity a notch,” said HBR coach Greg Burks. “Sometimes when you are playing that pressure defense and you get a couple steals it turns into a snowball effect. That’s what I think happened. We just got on a roll.”
“It doesn’t surprise me at all,” said Burks. “She knows how to get to the basket. But we are not really at all concerned with who scores the points as long as the job gets done.”
Morgan Park Academy (14-11) fell behind by eight points late in the second quarter , but rallied to pull ahead 31-30 early in the third quarter on a basket from Claire Mordi. But the wheels fell off after that.
“There pressure just got too us,” said Morgan Park Academy coach Tom Drahozal. “They are a very good team and forced us into some mistakes. And then being a very young team we started putting pressure on ourselves and that just made it worse.”
Gabrielle Ogbevire had 22 points to lead Morgan Park Academy in scoring.