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STOCK BASKETBALL

HAMMOND — Whiting's mountain against Bowman Academy looked steep after an early deficit in Wednesday's Class 2A sectional at Bishop Noll.

Then, the Eagles lost top scorer Christian Haggard to injury, and the mountain began to look like a plateau.

Haggard left in the third quarter and by the fourth, the Oilers used an 8-0 run to lead to a 41-35 rally victory. Whiting will play River Forest, a 51-40 winner against Lake Station, in Friday's semifinal game.

"When (Haggard) came out, we decided to put a little more pressure on the ball," Whiting coach Rick Gregory said. "That helped us get a couple of steals and convert it into easy baskets."

Bowman coach Okeisha Howard said Haggard has been dealing with back issues. Even with the injury, Haggard scored all of Bowman's five points in the third.

At the start of the fourth, Bowman's seven-point lead was cut to two and Whiting continued the pressure.

"It was the little things that we did not do, like not boxing out," Howard said. "It was a lack of focus, discipline. Missing assignments hurt us."

In the second game, River Forest avenged a 65-47 loss to Lake Station from Dec. 21.

The adjustment Wednesday night came as the Ingots turned to a 2-3 zone defensively to slow down Lake Station's freshman star Taylor Austin, who had 30 points in the previous matchup.

Austin scored 20 points the second go around against River Forest, 14 in the first half.

The defensive change forced the Eagles to shoot from the outside, as they only hit three 3s.

Marissa Mays scored 16 points for River Forest and junior guard Abby Galligan finished with 15.

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