It was deja vu for the Lady Raiders of Hinsdale as they thwarted Saco/Whitewater's attempt at a perfect 19-0 season by winning the district 3C girls basketball championship last Saturday evening at the Wolf Point gym just as they had done last year at Malta.
Who would have thought that three seniors, one junior, one sophomore, one freshman and three eighth graders could put up the numbers the Hinsdale Lady Raiders had put up this season losing just two games and both to Saco/Whitewater. And both by identical scores!
Hinsdale floor general Whitney Molina averaged better than 18 points per game during the regular season and except for maybe four games only played 16-20 minutes per game.
Hinsdale head coach Ralph Ellsworth put his JV players in most games when the score became too high for Hinsdale and too low for their opponents.
Saco/WW starts four juniors and a senior and have plenty others in reserve for a rainy day. Most of their players are from the Whitewater area and drive over 30 miles of gravel roads to practice and games. Saco/WW "acquired" Laramie Sheffelmear from Malta to bring some 'tall' to an otherwise short team.
Kourtney Simonson, Saco/WW, put up the first successful shot that put the Lady Panthers on the board. Hinsdale's Whitney Molina followed with a steal and a "coaster" for the deuce that made Saco/WW sit up and take notice.
Chadaya Christensen scored a basket in the paint with an assist from Molina. Then Tatum Moore, Saco/WW hit a three and Molina followed suit giving Hinsdale a one point lead but Saco/WW came back to end the first eight minutes of play with a couple freebies that made the score Saco/WW 13 and Hinsdale 10.
Coming up empty a couple times Hinsdale's Delaney Beil hit a three and Bethany Lacock nailed a mid-range jumper to put Hinsdale in the lead 19-16.
Courtney Capdeville grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back with attitude giving Hinsdale a slight lead before Moore took it back with a long range 3-pointer.
Three turn overs in the last two minutes cost the Lady Raiders another two points and the first half ended Saco/WW 24 and Hinsdale 22.
The third period began with Saco/WW acting like they wanted to win as Laramie Sheffelmear hit two quick buckets giving Saco/WW a six point lead.
But Christensen decided she'd had enough and nailed a deuce in the paint off a Capdeville pass, Beil pumped in a three as did Molina which added together gave the Lady Raiders a three point lead.
Saco/WW's Kourtney Simonson got an ORPB and Sheffelmear got a PB. Then, Molina dropped in a buzzer beater deuce to give Hinsdale the halftime lead 38-37.
Moore and Christensen traded deuces and Lacock hit a couple freebies that put Hinsdale ahead by five and Amber Erickson, Saco/WW head coach called a cease fire to regroup.
At the four minute mark, Molina got another steal which forced Moore to get her fourth foul trying to get the ball back from Lacock. Bethany went 2-2 from the line and the lead increased to seven putting the Saco/WW faithful in full panic mode.
Saco/WW got a bucket and Molina drew her third foul when Saco/WW's Shyla Gairrett forced up a shot. Gairrett missed both free throws. Christensen was fouled and hit 1-2.
Sheffelmear put two points in the book with 52 seconds left making the score Hinsdale 51 and Saco/WW 46.
On the pass inbound Molina got hampered and went to the line to shoot two. She made the first one and coach Erickson called timeout for Saco/WW to try and ice Whitney but found it didn't work as Whitney nailed the second freebie with a smile on her face.
Christensen gobbled up a crucial defensive rebound and Hinsdale headed to their end of the floor.
A shot went up but missed and Gairrett rebounded for the Lady Panthers streaking up court. She took a 3-pointer that missed, but was fouled in the process allowing her three freebies with 10 seconds remaining. Make all three and it's a two point game She missed the first but nailed the next two.
The score's 51 to 48 in Hinsdale's favor.
Hinsdale passed the ball inbound and Saco/WW was on it like a duck on a June bug. The action was in front of the Hinsdale bench now and coach Ralph very wisely called a time out a nano-second before Saco/WW stole the ball.
Whitney Molina got the next inbound with a couple seconds left in the game and was immediately fouled. She hit one of two and when Saco/WW took the ball out and passed it in time ran out.
Hinsdale Lady Raiders 52, Saco/Whitewater Lady Panthers 48.
This was a classic bout between two rivals separated by the Saco Divide. It wasn't the first such contest and for sure won't be the last.
Saco/WW is loaded with juniors and Hinsdale will be loaded with freshmen and eighth graders next year with one senior, one junior and one sophomore. Might just be a reloading year for the Lady Raiders.
But at any rate we crown the 2014 district 3C champions: the Hinsdale Lady Raiders.
Molina had 19 points which included three 3-pointers. She had five rebounds, four assists and three steals. Christensen tallied 11 points and took five rebounds. Lacock added 11 points and three rebounds. Capdeville contributed four points and two rebounds and Beil had seven points which included a 3-pointer.
That's it for now folks. Thanks for listening.