ANNAWAN -- Rarely can two first-quarter possessions for each team dictate how a basketball game will transpire.|
On this night, two is all the Annawan girls needed.
Two made shots and two forced turnovers on the game's first four possessions set the tone for the Bravettes on Wednesday night. Top-seeded Annawan needed less than 60 seconds to prove it meant business, carrying it to a 67-20 win over fourth-seeded ROWVA in the Class 1A Annawan Regional semifinals.
"We know we can't look ahead," Annawan junior guard Megan Foes said. "There's a lot we have to accomplish before we can go far. We're focusing on now. We're going to do that for every game."
By the time ROWVA (15-13) took its first shot, the Bravettes held a 12-0 lead with four of the six baskets coming within four feet of the basket. Better yet, that run saw three players not named Celina VanHyfte score.
When the victory was completed, Annawan (25-2) had eight players score and three reach double figures. VanHyfte tallied a game-high 16 points, Foes scored 13 and Paige Randall added 11.
"We trust each other," said Foes, who added seven rebounds, six steals and three assists. "We were playing for each other. We just wanted to go out there and have fun."
Annawan shot 50.9 percent (27 of 53) from the field. An even better number was the 35 turnovers it forced, including 30 steals. Morgan VanHyfte had a game-high nine steals.
"When we have all cylinders firing like that," Annawan coach Jason Burkiewicz said, "there's no one who can beat us."
Annawan would like to keep it that way.
"We know we have to step it up because it's postseason," Foes said. "This shows what we can do."
Wethersfield 57, Stark County 50: A dominant fourth-quarter stretch allowed the second-seeded Flying Geese to take control of what was a back-and-forth semifinal contest. Wethersfield constructed a 12-2 run in the middle segment of the frame to break a tie and advance into tonight's regional championship game at 7:30.
"We wore them down at the right time," Wethersfield coach Becky Ince said. " ... They got tired and missed their shots at the end. We did a better job of being patient and coming up with big turnovers when we needed them."
Turnovers were key to Wethersfield's momentum-grabbing stretch. The Flying Geese forced third-seeded Stark County (20-9) into nine fourth-quarter turnovers, turning them into nine points.
"We create turnovers, but sometimes we don't finish. That's what you have to do when you create turnovers," said Ince, whose team also went 16-of-23 from the foul line in the fourth. "Regionals are about finishing and doing the little things."
Another key was Sarah Hansen's ability to get points in the clutch. The Wethersfield senior guard scored 25 of her game-high 31 points in the second half. Among those wereseven points in Wethersfield's 12-2 run.
"The crowd was crazy and the intensity was huge," Hansen said. "We got a huge run and we were all happy."
The victory avenges two losses against Stark County during the regular season. Next up for the Flying Geese is Annawan, which handed Wethersfield a loss in its regular-season finale.
"We've got to come out and play our game," Ince said. "We know we have to step on the floor with no fear. (Annawan) is expected to win and they're a phenomenal team. ... Hopefully, it's a phenomenal championship game."
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