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Patriots overwhelmed in girls sectional final

Feb. 3—The less said about Saturday night's championship game of the Class 4A Avon Sectional for girls basketball the better, as far as Terre Haute North is concerned.

But team personnel were appreciative, after the 59-12 loss to Plainfield, of what had taken place the rest of the season and optimistic about the future.

"Too blessed to be too stressed," coach Nathan Dillion philosophized after the game. "There have been ups and downs this year, but [the Patriots] pushed through it and finished strong."

"My favorite year so far," said senior Becca Gore. "The team was really close and we grew a lot over the season."

"Also my favorite year," echoed Aubrey Ervin, North's only other senior. "These girls will hold a special place in my heart."

The challenge in playing a Curt Benge-coached Plainfield team is keeping its players from taking the ball away, and that was something the Patriots never mastered on Saturday.

Plainfield had 23 steals and forced 28 turnovers, and the Patriots managed just 25 field goal attempts.

Late in the first quarter it appeared the Patriots might be starting to settle in, but after a 15-0 deficit became 22-7, North went without another point for the last six minutes of the second quarter.

Leading 38-7 at halftime, Plainfield triggered the running clock in the first few seconds of the third quarter with back-to-back steals and layups, and North wound up not scoring that quarter either.

North's main nemeses were Plainfield's two players with Terre Haute connections: Hannah Menser, with game-high totals of 24 points and six rebounds plus four steals, and Berkeley Williams, with 10 points and five steals.

Ervin led North with five points — the only Patriot to make more than one basket — and shared rebound honors with Charlie Walker with five each.

"This was a big stage for a lot of our girls," Dillion said, "and they got a lot of experience out of it."

"We have a lot [of talent] coming back, especially from our sophomore class," Ervin said. "I can't wait to see what they do [in the future]."