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While Hinckley-Big Rock certainly did all it had to do in order to defeat Mooseheart’s girls basketball team on Monday, that doesn’t mean the Ramblers went quickly or quietly.
Mooseheart stayed in the contest until halftime and never stopped trying to find a spark to start a rally, but the Royals prevailed 38-25 on Monday in the opening round contest in the IHSA Class 1A Aurora Christian Regional.
“We had our chances to be within shooting distance in this game. Fundamentally and mentally, we had a couple of lapses, and that got us behind the eight-ball, so to speak,” Mooseheart girls basketball coach Bryan Miller said.
Mooseheart’s season ends with a 5-16 record and the Ramblers bid farewell to a half-dozen seniors who saw considerable court time.
“Obviously you don’t want to lose in the playoffs because your season’s done,” Miller said. “Throughout the season and in this game, we tried to get our seniors a lot of playing time. We’re losing six of them and that’s going to be a big void to fill next year.”
One of those seniors, Nowai Kpartipa, led all scorers with 18 points. Her scoring kept the Ramblers close in the first half. Though Hinckley-Big Rock led the entire game, Mooseheart cut the lead to 8-7 late in the first quarter on a Kpartipa basket and were only behind 19-11 when Kpartipa scored late in the first half.
“(Kpartipa’s) going to be a big void to fill next year, and Aishah Adebayo too,” Miller said.
The Royals used an 8-0 run late in the third quarter to open a 34-15 lead. A late Mooseheart scoring flurry, including eight fourth quarter points by Kpartipa closed the gap but did not impact on which team won the game.
Anne Kossman and Emily Southern led Hinckley-Big Rock with 14 and 11 points, respectively. The Royals advance to meet Aurora Christian in Wednesday’s semifinals.
“Give credit to Hinckley-Big Rock, they shot the ball fairly well tonight. We collapsed down in the second half because they got some easy baskets down low in the first half. That was a good adjustment on our part, but they hit some key outside shots,” Miller said.