Fast start, strong finish send Hamilton girls back to semifinals - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Fast start, strong finish send Hamilton girls back to semifinals

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Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013 4:37 pm | Updated: 11:36 pm, Mon Feb 18, 2013.

Chill out and relax.

As basic a message as can be delivered to one another, this time from the Hamilton girls basketball team's bench during a third quarter timeout.

Avondale Westview had turned its brand of basketball chaos into a contest during Monday's Division I state tournament quarterfinal matchup at Wells Fargo Arena.

A big first half lead - 15 points at one juncture - dissolved down to six points. Huskies coach Jeff Kain called  timeout late in the third quarter.

The Huskies proverbially exhaled and the rout was back on in their 48-29 victory.

Hamilton held Westview to three points in the fourth quarter, the same total as it held the Knights in the first quarter. The Huskies' inside domination resumed, its athleticism and free-throw shooting helped clinch a second consecutive trip to the final four.

"Some people got a little jittery," senior forward Aaliyah Dickson said of the temporarily-lost lead. "The timeout was a big help. Everyone got together and stopped being frantic."

No. 5 Hamilton will face No. 1 St. Mary's on Thursday at 6 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena.

It's the fourth consecutive year Hamilton has at least reached the quarterfinals. Hamilton lost to St. Mary's in last year's state championship game and once by 18 points early this regular season. The Huskies split their matchups with Chandler this season, both of which were tight games to the end.

Led by Dickson, Ashlee Moore and Kyndall Adams, a core group of Huskies had played in Arizona State's arena several times. The nerves and familiarity might have been  a factor in Hamilton's 14-3 lead after the first quarter and 28-13 halftime lead on Monday.

No. 4 Westview, however, made a run. The Huskies struggled with turnovers and handling Westview's pressure defense, and the Knights finally found its collective shot.

Marissa Rincon hit a 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer to pull Westview within two possessions entering the fourth.

The Huskies got five points from Moore and Dickson in the fourth quarter, and forced Westview into nine turnovers.

"We moved the ball again and got after it on defense again," Adams said.

Adams led all scorers with 16 points and Moore finished with 12. To help the Huskies' keep Westview at an arm's length, Hamilton hit five of seven free throws in the fourth  quarter and 17 for the game.

Having been here before, the Huskies knew about staying calm and collected, but with a whole new backcourt of mostly freshmen after graduations last year, a couple in-game reminders wasn't the worst thing.

It may have been the best thing.

"We were fine," Huskies coach Jeff Kain said. "I said to them, 'Look, we still have a lead, we're beating them inside like we wanted and (Westview) hit a couple shots but we were defending. We thought we could just dribble through everything all game like the first quarter. Everyone needed to take a breath."

Hamilton 48, Westview 29

Hamilton   14   14   6   13  -- 48

Westview   3   10   13   3  --  29

Hamilton: Hogberg 3, Hartman 6, Moore 12, Adams 16, Dickson 10

Westview:  Contreres 5, Montes 5, Martinez 4, Sesma 5, Cordova 1, Rincon 5, Grandon 4

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