MORGAN TOWNSHIP | Morgan Township needed all the luck it could find to beat Washington Twp. for a third time this season.
The Cherokees held off a pesky Senator squad in a 47-42 win Friday night in the second semifinals of the Class A Morgan Twp. sectional.
The defending sectional champs will play in their third straight championship game, facing a hot LaCrosse team.
"You just saw how difficult it is to beat a team three times," Morgan coach Kevin Krieger said. "I'm proud of our girls. We took their best shot and kept our poise and we persevered."
Washington (8-12) did its best to play spoiler by dominating the third quarter.
The Senators used a 13-2 run in the third to cut a 15-point Morgan lead to 4 with 2:25 left.
Heather Burton led the charge with a 3, two free throws and two assists -- one on Kwiatkowski's 3 and one on Ruesch's 3.
Morgan committed turnovers on four straight possessions.
The Senators outscored the Cherokees (13-10) 16-6 in the third. But Morgan never relinquished its lead.
"We kept our poise," Krieger said. "We became tentative, but then we started doing what we do best and took it to the basket."
Morgan led by 18 points in the first quarter but held a slim margin of 31-28 to open the fourth.
The Cherokees hit 5-of-6 shots in the fourth and 6-of-8 from the line to seal the win.
Hannah Murphy stepped up big for Morgan with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
"She has been our most consistent player the second half of the season," Krieger said.
Trina Coleman suffered through an off shooting night but led Morgan with 17 points, including 7-of-9 from the line.
Burton and Sammie Higgins led the Senators with eight and 11 points, respectively. Higgins added seven rebounds.
In the first semifinal, LaCrosse advanced to its first-ever sectional final with a 54-34 win over Covenant Christian. It was the second post-season win for the Tigers (8-12).
"This is huge for us," LaCrosse coach Brian McMahan said. "It was our goal from the start and we got there."
Gabbie Sievers led LaCrosse with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Alissa Tucker added 14 points, including four 3-pointers.
"That inside-outside combination has worked for us," McMahan said of Sievers and Tucker. "Gabby has been on for us the last five games, and Alissa is out of her sophomore funk. She's had some big games for us."