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Patriots pull away from inspired Braves

Feb. 2—Senior leadership can take a number of different forms, and for Terre Haute North's Aubrey Ervin and Becca Gore it took the shape of unselfishness Friday night at the Class 4A Avon Sectional for girls high school basketball.

The two Patriot 12th-graders combined for 11 assists to their younger teammates in the Patriots' 45-34 win over Terre Haute South, meaning their passing had accounted for more than half of the Patriot points (because a few of the 11 assists set up 3-pointers).

And North needed every one, because the Braves were on the Patriots' heels most of the game.

"Becca and Aubrey have been everything you want for senior leadership," North coach Nathan Dillion said after the game. "I think this is the first time we've been in the championship game since coach [Mike] Allen's team won in 2007, and they're excited to make history."

North never trailed, but it never led by much through the first 20 minutes of the game.

An 8-3 lead melted to 8-7 because of a 3-pointer and then a steal and free throw by Haley Morris. South got to within 13-12 on a driving three-point play by LaNiceon Holman and, after a 3-pointer by Sage Lanning set up by Ervin, got within 16-15 on a 3-pointer by Holman.

North scored the next seven points for a 23-15 lead, the Ervin-to-Lannning combination working again, but South was back within 25-23 at halftime after 3-pointers by Katie Cox and Karizma English-Malone and a pair of free throws by Madi Boyd.

"Kudos to South. They came out and hit some tough shots," Dillion said later.

"I thought we played really well, one of our best games of the season," said Jason Setliff, who took over the South coaching duties midway through the season. "North brings out the best in us."

Ervin found a cutting Madi Strange (for the third time in the game) to start the third quarter, but South's Carley Werremeyer hit a 3-pointer that cut the lead to 27-26. Gore got two baskets for North, one from Ervin and one from her own steal, and Morris scored for South to cut the lead to 31-28.

But the Braves may have been tiring by that time. Several shots came up short down the stretch, and the Braves got just three more baskets in the last 12 minutes.

Strange led North in scoring with 12 points, while Gore had 10 plus five assists and five rebounds and Ervin five points and six assists. South got nine points each from Holman and English-Malone, and Te'Rah Cooley matched North's Charlie Walker in rebounds with eight apiece.

"The girls honestly believed they could win that ballgame," Setliff said. "LaNiceon did well, and we had multiple people hitting shots, contributions all over the place."

"[The Braves] have really made improvements," Dillion said. "They gave us all we wanted.

—Plainfield 73, Brownsburg 62 — In the second semifinal game, the Quakers raced to 26 points in the first quarter and beat the Bulldogs (and 6-foot-6 Avery Gordon) for the third time this season, this one the most decisive of the three.

Plainfield's Garfield Granddaughters were both outstanding. Berkeley Williams (granddaughter of former Purple Eagle Mike Turner) scored a game-high 29 points and Hannah Menser (granddaughter of Bob Cleghorn, daughter of Michael) had 17 points, five rebounds, three steals, three assists and four blocked shots.

TERRE HAUTE NORTH (45) — Ervin 2-7 0-0 5, Lawson 2-3 0-0 4, Walker 2-3 0-0 4, Gore 5-14 0-0 10, Strange 6-11 0-0 12, Martin 2-4 0-0 4, Strader 0-1 0-0 0, Lanning 2-5 0-0 6, Harmon 0-0 0-0 0, Looper 0-0 0-0 0, Lee 0-0 0-0 0, Kirkham 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-48 FG, 0-0 FT, 45 TP.

TERRE HAUTE SOUTH (34) — English-Malone 4-12 0-0 9, Cooley 1-3 0-3 2, Morris 2-10 1-2 6, Holman 3-6 2-3 9, Werremeyer 1-4 0-0 3, Cox 1-4 0-0 3, Lewis 0-0 0-0 0, Boyd 0-1 2-2 2, Bodine 0-0 0-0 0, Mundell 0-0 0-0 0, Kemp 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 12-40 FG, 5-12 FT, 34 TP.

TH North 13 12 12 8 — 45

TH South 9 14 7 4 — 34

3-point shooting — THN 3-19 (Lanning 2-5, Ervin 1-4, Strange 0-4, Gore 0-6), THS 5-22 (Holman 1-2, Cox 1-3, Werremeyer 1-4, Morris 1-5, English-Malone 1-7, Boyd 0-1). Total fouls — THN 13, THS 8. Fouled out — none. Turnovers — THN 17, THS 15. Rebounds — THN 33 (Walker 8, Gore 5, Lawson 3, Strange 3, Strader 3, Ervin 2, Lanning, Harmon, Team 7), THS 29 (Cooley 8, Morris 6, Werremeyer 4, English-Malone 2, Holman 2, Boyd 2, Team 5). Assists — THN 13 (Ervin 6, Gore 5, Walker, Strange), THS 7 (English-Malone 4, Werremeyer 2, Cox). Steals — THN 10 (Gore 4, Martin 3, Ervin 2, Strange), THS 11 (English-Malone 3, Cooley 2, Holman 2, Werremeyer 2, Morris, Cox). Blocks — THN 3 (Strader 2, Walker), THS 0.

Next — Terre Haute North (8-17) plays Plainfield (16-7) for the championship at 7 p.m. Saturday. Terre Haute South finished 2-23, Brownsburg 13-12.