Hebron solves Long Reach, 40-39

Chell-led late run offsets slow start, previous losses

Class 3A East girls basketball

High Schools

March 02, 2004|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

The way Lauren Chell figured it, the Mount Hebron girls basketball team was long overdue a meaningful win.

Chell not only got her wish last night, but she also played a big role in making it reality.

The senior guard scored seven of her team-high 12 points in the fourth quarter to help the visiting Vikings oust No. 13 Long Reach, 40-39, from the Class 3A East quarterfinals in Columbia.

Tomorrow, Mount Hebron (15-8) will meet No. 5 River Hill, a 56-27 quarterfinal winner over Douglass-PG.

Long Reach beat Mount Hebron twice in the regular season, including by 41-37 on Jan. 29. Still, Chell was one of several Vikings who believed that they could pull off the upset.

"This is what we've been working for," she said. "We knew we'd see them again in the playoffs. The third time's the charm."

Things didn't start so well for the Vikings, as they went nearly six minutes without scoring before Jenny Wentzel (nine points) canned a jumper with 2:03 left in the first quarter.

During that span, Long Reach (20-3) built a 10-0 advantage that disappeared in the second quarter when Mount Hebron turned to Sara Marin.

With the 6-foot-2 center dwarfing her opponent by at least 3 inches, the Vikings fed Marin until she had scored nine of her 11 points to power a 13-point second quarter and close the gap to an 18-17 Lightning lead at halftime.

"Once we started playing our game and looking inside for shots, we cooled down," Marin said. "I just wanted the shots ... and I got good passes from my teammates."

The lead changed hands for much of the second half. After Chell converted one of two free throws with 3:00 left, Mount Hebron owned a 38-35 lead.

But Long Reach clawed back, two free throws cutting the deficit to one.

That's when Chell drove down the left side of the lane and kissed a layup off the backboard and into the net to put the Vikings up 40-37.

"They were giving me that left side all night," Chell said. "I guess they thought I was right-handed."

But the Lightning wasn't entirely finished. After Carlie Nethken (13 points, four steals, four assists) stole the ball and converted a layup with less than a minute left to again trim the lead to a single point, Long Reach had new life.

But Mount Hebron harassed Timisha Gomez (11 points and seven rebounds) into giving up the ball, and Charlie Beasley's three-point attempt at the buzzer was too long.

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