CEDAR LAKE | As Hanover Central entered the fourth quarter of Tuesday's Class 3A Hanover Central girls basketball sectional opener, coach Doug Nelson had a few quick instructions for his team facing a tied game.
"I told the girls in the fourth quarter that rebounds and free throws would win it," Nelson said after his team beat Andrean 63-54. "We limited them to one shot down the floor and made the stops when we had to."
The Wildcats hit 10-of-16 free throws in the fourth quarter and grabbed 12 rebounds. The tie game turned into a Hanover Central win as the 59ers were held scoreless for nearly five minutes of the fourth quarter.
Andrean (7-16) relied on runs in the first half and fourth quarter to try to keep the game close or sustain a lead.
"We run a lot of plays to Brenna Boiyle and Brittany Gray to shoot 3s," Andrean coach Tony Scheub said. "We either get a layup or a 3-pointer. We don't get a lot of second-chance opportunities. We were worried about second-chance opportunities."
Andrean scored seven points in the last three minutes of the first quarter and eight points over 1:34 late in the second quarter.
By the third, the Niners found a mid-range shot, with center Haley Hrosik scoring nine of her 10 points in the frame. She finished with a double-double, adding 13 rebounds.
Madison Lesch, who had nine points in the second quarter, led Andrean with 20 points.
The 59ers had no answer for Hanover Central's Blayr Poston, who scored 27 points and nabbed 13 rebounds. She had all four of her steals in the first quarter.
Poston scored 14 of her points from the free-throw line, where the Wildcats (13-7) were 24-of-39.
Kristen Roper chipped in 11 points for Hanover Central, which will play Knox at 6 p.m. Friday in one of two semifinal games.
Calumet will play Rensselaer, which beat Kankakee Valley 48-47 in the second game Tuesday.
Kankakee Valley held a lead as large as three points in the third quarter, before Rensselaer hit two 3s to take its last lead at 35-34 with 58 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
“Two of the better teams in the sectional, and this is a good sectional, county rivals, to play on the first night of the sectional is huge,” Bombers coach Jeff Marlow said. “We told the kids before the game, all week, it comes down to making plays. There were no pep talks we could give in the locker room, if you’re not ready to play this game, we’re in trouble.”
Lauren Stokes, playing with the flu, scored 19 points and grabbed eight steals for K.V., while Laura Tonner matched the 19 points for the Bombers with seven rebounds.
K.V. (16-5) tied the game twice, but then went scoreless for nearly five minutes in the fourth quarter and forced the Kougars to take outside shots. K.V.’s forwards, which combine to average 18 points per game, were held to eight.
“For us to not score is just unheard of,” Kougars coach Ryan Myers said. “We average 54 points per game. Our problem all year has been keeping other teams from scoring, but scoring was our problem tonight.”
Bethany Jansma chipped in 10 points for K.V., while Emily Ziese had 10 points with seven rebounds for the Bombers.
“Our defense is pretty solid all year long,” Marlow said. “We take pride in our defense. If we shut them down for five minutes, that really says a lot for our defense and our game plan.”