MORGAN TWP. | Kevin Krieger will be the first to admit his team's 37-25 win over Washington Township Friday night wasn’t pretty, but he and his Cherokees will take it just the same.
Morgan Township made just four field goals in the second half and was out-rebounded 34-22, but the Cherokees forced 28 Senator turnovers and came away with the victory in the semifinals of the 41st Porter County Conference tournament.
The Cherokees will face Boone Grove in tonight's championship game. The Wolves defeated Kouts 46-42 in the other semifinal.
“We’re playing tomorrow, and that’s what six other teams wanted to do at the start of the week,” Krieger said.
Morgan Township (9-8) entered the fourth quarter shooting 2-of-9 from the free-throw line, but the Cherokees were 9-of-10 in the final quarter.
Trina Coleman, who finished with a game-high 15 points was 5-of-6 at the line in the fourth, and Morgan Lippens and Brianna Leuck each made a pair.
Hannah Murphy made Morgan Township’s only field goal of the quarter on a basket inside off a pass from Leuck at the 6:08 mark. Murphy finished with eight points and eight rebounds.
While the Cherokees struggled on offense (12-of-39 shooting), they thrived on defense, holding the Senators (7-10) to 9-of-31 shooting. Washington Township committed at least eight turnovers in three of the four quarters.
Sammie Higgins scored 10 points to lead the Senators, and Madeline Johnson grabbed 13 rebounds.
In the second semifinal, Boone Grove pulled down 23 offensive rebounds and survived a furious rally from Kouts to get the four-point win.
Nicole Malouhos scored six of her team-high 14 points in the fourth quarter, all of the points coming on offensive rebounds. She also grabbed a rebound of a Faith Dammarell missed free throw with 7.6 seconds to play to allow the Wolves (12-5) to keep possession with a 44-42 lead.
Dammarell then drained two free throws to make the final margin four.
Dammarell finished with 10 points. Paige Aguilera added nine points and 13 rebounds for Boone Grove. Malouhos also had nine rebounds.
“Nicole got in there and got a couple and Paige too, they were both phenomenal on the boards,” Boone Grove coach Candy Wilson said.
Jayla Crump led Kouts (8-9), which trailed 24-12 at halftime, with 15 points, including a 10-of-12 performance at the line. She also had 12 rebounds. Allie Zimmerle added 12 points.
The Wolves got the win despite shooting 17-of-60 from the field and 1-of-17 from behind the arc.
“As long as you move on, that’s all that counts, and that was ugly,” Wilson said.