PALOS HEIGHTS | Homewood-Flossmoor's girls basketball team may be hampered with injuries, but that didn't stop the Vikings Tuesday night.
Sophomore Candace Hicks scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the Vikings to a 48-24 victory against Thornton Fractional South in the semifinals of the Class 4A Stagg Regional on Tuesday at Stagg High School. The Vikings (22-6) will face Sandburg contest for the regional championship Thursday night at 7:30 p.m.
"We did good," Hicks said. "We picked it up for the people who were not there."
The Vikings were without guards Charnelle Reed, Lauren Parker and Danielle Woolfolk on Tuesday. Coach Dana Noble said starters Reed and Parker were out with knee injuries — in Reed's case, a torn MCL that will have her sidelined the rest of the season. Noble said Woolfolk was kept off the court by his decision.
"The bench will shorten up a little bit for us as time goes on," Noble said. "When we get into the playoffs, you never know who will be needed at a given time. Everybody has to be ready to step up, and I think some of the girls will be ready to do that for us."
The Vikings jumped to an 8-0 lead, fueled by a pair of field goals by Jaiveonna Norris (11 points, seven rebounds). The Vikings withstood poor free-throw shooting in the first quarter and the Rebel's best offensive production in the second quarter to lead 27-14 at intermission. The Vikings then outscored the Rebels 12-3 to start the second half, virtually putting the game away.
"We have an uncanny ability to open games by missing free throws and layups," Noble said. "Sure, we were up 8-0 to start the game, but I think we could have been up 16-0 if we had knocked down a couple of layups."
Hicks spread her offensive contribution, with her 3-pointer closing out the Vikings scoring in the first half.
"Hicks did a nice job for us," Noble said. "She played a lot of minutes and as a sophomore has really progressed. We are really starting to find out what she can and cannot do for the team."
The Rebels (15-9) struggled to find their offensive rhythm the entire contest. They were held to one field goal in the first and third periods, and committed 25 turnovers in the defeat. They were unable to put together a scoring run bigger than four points the entire contest. Kaitlin Togtman and Teosha Rolling each scored a team-high six points.
"Our team is very young, and they didn't quit," Rebels coach Steve Breshock said. "The players gave a lot of effort; now we've just got to get in the gym and practice."