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February 22, 2014

Berries survive Chargers, advance to regional final

KOKOMO — Logansport’s girls basketball team withstood a strong start by Fort Wayne Carroll and overcame uncharacteristic poor free-throw shooting at the end.

The Berries held on for a 64-58 win over the Chargers to advance to the final of the Class 4A Kokomo Regional for the second straight year.

Logansport (23-2) will face Fishers (21-4) at 8 p.m. tonight for the regional championship at Memorial Gym.

The Chargers (10-13) got off to a hot start, jumping out to a 21-11 lead after one quarter, shooting 9 of 16 from the field and 3 of 4 from 3-point range.

The lead was 25-13 just 10 minutes into the game. But the Berries turned up the pressure fullcourt over the next six minutes to end the half and went on a crucial 20-7 run to take a 33-32 lead into the break. Whitney Jennings had 20 points by halftime for the Berries, including a 17-foot pullup jumper with 3 seconds left.

The Berries went back to their halfcourt zone to open the second half and started getting stops more frequently than they did in the first. Sydney Bullard scored six of her 10 points in the third quarter before turning an ankle with 3:50 left in the frame. Sam Kain entered and hit a free throw after an offensive board to give Logan a 47-42 lead with 3:09 left in the quarter. A Nakeya Penny putback gave Logan a 49-44 lead which it would take to the fourth, but Penny picked up her fourth foul right before the third quarter ended.

Bullard was able to re-enter after having her ankle tended to. She promptly scored on a Jennings assist to open the final quarter to give Logan a 51-44 lead.

The Berries went to a four corners offense to end the game and Jennings repeatedly dribbled around and through Carroll defenders while getting baskets for herself or her teammates or drawing fouls.

Jennings also had probably the play of the game when she came up with a steal and three-point play to push the Logan lead up to 61-52 with 3:02 remaining.

Madison Dalton scored on a putback with 2:00 left to make it 63-54. A Kennedy Curl free throw made it 64-54 with 35 seconds left and the Berries were able to hold on.

Logan coach Jerry Hoover pointed to the turnover differential as the difference in the game. The Berries forced 18 turnovers while committing just five.

“Turnovers is basically what won the game for us,” he said. “All the time we were either in foul trouble or Syd was hurt in the second half — something that disrupted our game plan. Any time we get into that situation we’ll always go to four corners and let things straighten themselves out, and luckily today it straightened out.”

The Berries entered the game about a 70-percent free-throw shooting team but made just 17 of 33 for the contest. They missed 11 in the final 3:34 while making just two to make things a little more interesting down the stretch.

Jennings led the Berries with 29 points, seven steals, six assists and two blocks. She was 9 of 16 from the field and 11 of 15 from the foul line.

Dalton posted a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds. The 5-9 freshman was 2 of 3 from beyond the arc and added five points in the fourth quarter.

Penny had 11 points and five rebounds despite sitting out four minutes of the fourth quarter with four fouls. Bullard added 10 points and five boards.

Madison Peterson scored 17 points to lead the Chargers. Jacqueline Quade, a 6-2 sophomore, had 15 points and 11 boards. Kierstin Murphy was 3 of 6 from 3-point range and had 13 points.

Carroll outrebounded Logan 40-27 but cooled off after its hot start, shooting 41.8 percent from the field and 6 of 19 from 3 for the game.

Logan shot 50 percent from the field, 3 of 8 from 3 and outscored Carroll 17-6 at the foul line.

The Berries face a Fishers team that knocked off No. 4-ranked Homestead 61-45 in the morning semifinal. Alex Hochstedler, a 5-7 senior guard, led the Tigers with 27 points and seven rebounds. Kera Gerka scored 15 points and Brooke Sugg added 13.

“We’ve got a terribly tough game tonight. They’re really good,” Hoover said.

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