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Local Sports

February 15, 2014

Caston survives Tri-County to advance to final

FRANCESVILLE — Caston’s girls basketball team held off a fourth-quarter comeback bid by Tri-County Friday to survive in Class A West Central Sectional play.

The Comets held on for a 33-31 win over the Cavaliers to advance to the championship game.

The Comets (14-6) face No. 5-ranked West Central (16-2) at 7 p.m. tonight. Tri-County finishes 6-15.

Caston led Tri-County 20-12 at halftime and 28-20 after three quarters before holding on for dear life in the fourth.

“We like to make people entertained for the whole 32 minutes,” Caston coach Carl Davis said.

Lauren Schwab, who made a 3 earlier in the game, was just short on attempt in the closing seconds for the Cavaliers. Tierney Rentschler rebounded for the Comets and they were able to hold on.

Davis said he wasn’t surprised to be in a close game with the Mick Benner-coached Cavaliers. Benner has won seven sectional titles in his 20 seasons at the school.

“Any time you play a coach Benner team in the sectional it’s not going to be a blowout. They’re going to be well prepared and ready to go,” Davis said.

Mickayla Rans led the Comets with 13 points. She was followed by Jaycee Denton (9), Marli Leazenby (6), Sarah Holt (3) and Anna Brown (2).

Kristie LeBeau scores 16 points to lead the Cavs. Dakota Westphal added five and Laura Walder chipped in four.

“I thought we played four quarters of pretty solid defense,” Davis said. “LeBeau played really well and had 16 for them.

“The first half we were efficient and took care of the basketball. We got in foul trouble early and Madison Taylor gave us great minutes off the bench defensively and offensively taking care of the ball. Jaycee Denton came off the bench and hit three 3s in the first half. A key to the first half was our bench play.

“The second half I thought Tri-County forced us into things and our turnovers got them back in it. They played extremely well and took good care of the ball and got good looks.”

The Comets made just 1 of 5 free throws in the fourth quarter to leave the door open. They also had to survive a relatively close game against Pioneer to open the sectional.

“It’s the sectional and every team is giving us their best shot. They’re conference opponents and they’ve all seen us at least once and have taken us out of some things we want to do,” Davis said.

The Comets lost to West Central 36-33 in overtime in the regular-season game on Jan. 10 in Fulton.

West Central advanced with a 44-20 win over North White on Friday.

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