HOBART | Crown Point girls basketball coach Annie Equihua said the same thing at halftime as she did heading into the fourth quarter of Tuesday's sectional opener.
"You can't get it all back at once," Equihua said.
Crown Point trailed Portage by eight points at halftime and by as many as 15 in the third quarter.
Behind Katija Tarailo in the third quarter and Hannah Albrecht in the fourth, the Bulldogs picked their way back play by play. Crown Point advanced with a 44-39 win to play LaPorte in a semifinal Friday. The Slicers topped Hobart, 65-44, in the second game of Tuesday's sectional double-header.
With Crown Point turnovers and Portage rebounds, the Indians built a lead thanks to 10 first-half points from sophomore Kaitlyn Steers.
The Bulldogs (13-7) started their rally behind Tarailo's seven third-quarter points late.
"This is a relief, an absolute sheer relief," Equihua said. "I don't think our kids overlooked Portage, but we had to scratch our way back for every point."
"To beat a good team, you have to play four complete quarters," Portage coach Chris Seibert said. "We had defensive lapses in the fourth quarter and we missed some shots. We did a good job for a stretch answering their run. I'm proud of our kids' effort, they did a lot of good things."
Down by seven points after the third quarter, Albrect scored nine of her 11 in the fourth.
The most consistent player for Crown Point was Katie Howarth, who had a team-best 15. Steers led Portage with 17.
"Portage played their butts off," Equihua said. "Obviously it didn't turn out the way they wanted it to, but we played them twice this season and beat them by 20 points. To come back and fight as hard as they did, I'm so proud of those (Portage) girls. I'm sorry there had to be a winner tonight, as exciting as this game was."
In the late match, LaPorte's outside game dominated as it has all season. The Slicers had eight 3s in the first half to take a 41-18 lead into the locker room.
Kyleigh Kubik had five of her team's eight 3s in the first half and finished with 17 points.
"(Kubik) was on fire in the first half. She did a good job recognizing the defense," LaPorte coach Skeeter Heath said. "When you're shooting that good, it helps you look good and we shot well in the first half. That's been one of our strong suits all year, that when someone is hot, we get the ball to that player."
Hobart couldn't answer offensively and turned the ball over eight times in the second quarter.
"We didn't execute our game plan in the first half," Hobart coach Mike Hamacher said. "They made a lot of shots and at least half of them were wide-open shots. We already know they're going to make nice plays on their own, and without execution of our game plan, they blew the game right open."
Grayce Roach led the Brickies with 21 points.