Summer Ross of Mt. Abram takes a layup while being defended by Eliza Quinones, left, and Caroline Casolo of Hebron Academy on Tuesday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)
HEBRON — Mt. Abram jumped out to a big lead and finally pulled away at the end, defeating the Hebron 43-29 in the Class C South girls’ basketball playoffs Tuesday.
The 12th-seeded Roadrunners pulled out to a 10-0 lead in the opening quarter, but that was only the first of a few blows they would need to knock the fifth-seeded Lumberjacks out of the postseason.
“It definitely wasn’t our best game,” Mt. Abram guard Summer Ross said. “We kind of cracked under pressure a lot, but we pulled through at the end. Teamwork got us there, so that’s pretty cool.”
After Mt. Abram built that early lead, Franceska Halloran scored Hebron’s first points of the game with a 3-pointer late in the first quarter. Maddy New hit another trey in the final seconds, and suddenly the Lumberjacks were only down five, 11-6, heading into the second period.
Hebron carried that momentum into the second period and cut the lead to 14-13 with less than two minutes to play in the first half.
“Our defense was really good that quarter,” Lumberjacks coach Colin Griggs said.
Ross ended the second quarter with a pair of free throws, and then opened the second half by driving the lane for a bucket and following that with a steal that she turned into an easy layup that gave Mt. Abram a 20-13 cushion.
Ross finished with a game-high 20 points.
“She’s aggressive on offense,” Mt. Abram coach Larry Donald said.
The Roadrunners went up by 10 in the third, but the Lumberjacks again closed in, making it 27-23 on a Halloran 3 with less than a minute left.
“We do that every game, it feels like,” Ross said. “We just teeter-tot with each other.”
Mt. Abram’s Madison Phelps hit a free throw after a technical foul and then scored in the post, but Halloran was fouled on a three-quarter-court heave and made two of the three free throws to make it 30-25 with one quarter to play.
The Roadrunners, though, held the Lumberjacks to four points in the fourth quarter, and pulled away with a 10-0 run highlighted by 6-of-8 shooting at the free-throw line.
“We didn’t shoot well early, and we didn’t shot well in the fourth,” Griggs said. “Those two things made a difference.
“We were right in that game the whole way,” Griggs added, “but that fourth quarter, we struggled.”
Mt. Abram focused its defense on stopping Halloran and New.
“Lindsay Huff and Camryn Wahl, I think their defense in that triangle-and-two was key,” Donald said. “The other girls did well, and that’s what I told them, ‘We’re going to take those two girls out of the game. Now it’s a three-on-three game, our three has to be better than their three.’ And I thought we were.”
Huff added six points, all from the free-throw line, for the Roadrunners, while Wahl, Phelps and Meg Sorel scored five apiece.
Mt. Abram (11-8) advances to face Madison in the quarterfinals. The Roadrunners defeated the Bulldogs 57-51 in the teams’ only meeting of the season Jan. 29.
Halloran finished with 11 points for Hebron, and New, a senior from Poland, scored eight points in her final game. Her last two points late in the fourth quarter put her over 900 points in her three-year career.
Eliza Quinones pulled down 21 rebounds for the Lumberjacks, and Caroline Casolo scored six points off the bench.
Meg Sorel (22) of Mt. Abram and Eliza Quinones of Hebron battle for a rebound in Hebron on Tuesday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)
Lindsay Huff of Mt. Abram drives along the sideline during Tuesday game against Hebron Academy. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)
Franceska Halloran of Hebron Academy attempts to steal the ball from Mt. Abram’s Kaylee Knight during the second period in Hebron on Tuesday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)