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Down Goes Rochelle! Warriors Win Regional Title!

February 15, 2013
Sterling High School


Daily Gazette Article

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After falling begin by as many as 11 points in the first half, the SHS Girls’ Basketball team rallied for a thrilling 47-44 win over top-seeded Rochelle in the championship game of the Sterling IHSA 3A Regional Thursday at Musgrove Fieldhouse.  The win propels the Golden Warriors into next week’s Genoa-Kingston Sectional.


It was truly a tale of two halves for SHS.  In the first half Sterling scored just 13 points, shot 28% (5-18) from the floor, and committed 11 turnovers.  In the second half, the Golden Warriors scored 34 points (Rochelle gives up an average of just 39 per game), shot 57% (12-21), and committed only five turnovers.


SHS trailed 21-13 at halftime, but behind 11 points from Kiarra Harris, pulled within three late in the third quarter.  That’s when Rochelle’s Christina Williams threw in a half-court bomb to beat the buzzer and give the Lady Hubs a 35-29 lead heading in the final quarter.


The Williams bomb seemed to motivate the Golden Warriors, who started the fourth quarter on a 9-0 run to retake the lead.  McKenna Pearson started the rally with a driving layup.  Katelyn Bauer then scored, before Pearson nailed her only 3-pointer of the game to give SHS its first lead since 2-0 at 36-35.  Bauer scored again moments later to make it 38-35.


Sterling led 43-40 in the closing minute, before Rochelle scored on baskets from Williams and Michelle Dobbs to retake the lead at 44-43.


On its ensuing possession, Bauer missed a shot for SHS, but Harris grabbed the rebound, scored, and was fouled.  With a 45-44 lead, Harris missed her free throw, but Sterling was able to grab the offensive rebound.  Harris was quickly fouled, and then calmly sank a pair of free throws.


Rochelle (21-6) was able to get off a 3-point attempt just before the buzzer, but Dobbs’ effort from right corner drew iron, but fell out, launching a regional championship for the Golden Warriors.


Harris and Pearson combined to score 28 of Sterling’s 34 points in the second half.  Pearson scored all eight of her points after halftime.  Harris scored 20 of her career-high 25 (8-12 FG) in the second half.  She also grabbed 12 rebounds for her fifth “double-double” of the season.


The win gives Sterling its 13th regional title in school history, second straight (both over Rochelle), and seventh in the last 14 years.


The Golden Warriors have won six straight and 13 of 15 heading into the sectional.  They will take on either Rockford-Lutheran (21-6) or Freeport (11-14) Monday at Genoa-Kingston High School at 7:30 p.m.  Those teams play for the Stillman Valley Regional title Friday night.

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