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'Dogs return to regional championship for 8th straight year

  • Harrisburg's Lauren McDaniel led the Bulldogs with 15 points in a 53-51 win over Massac County in Tuesday's IHSA Class 2A Regional semifinal at Vienna High School.

    Harrisburg's Lauren McDaniel led the Bulldogs with 15 points in a 53-51 win over Massac County in Tuesday's IHSA Class 2A Regional semifinal at Vienna High School.

By Spyder Dann
updated: 2/11/2020 11:04 PM

There was no shortage on drama or excitement in Tuesday's semifinal play at the IHSA Class 2A Vienna Regional.
Harrisburg hung on to beat Massac County 53-51 in the first game, while Eldorado, who came in winners of 17 straight, were knocked off by Anna-Jonesboro 38-37.
Harrisburg 53, Massac County 51
Harrisburg put two players in double figures in its win over Massac County, sending the Bulldogs to their 8th straight regional title game.
Lauren McDaniel tossed in a team-high 15 points on 4-of-9 shooting from the floor, while Essence Sanders, who was huge for Harrisburg down the stretch in the second half, finished with 11 points.
Massac County (19-12) held a 43-40 lead midway through the fourth quarter, but Sanders got a trio of buckets to give Harrisburg a 46-43 lead with 2:56 to play.
Stream Black and Summer Sanders each added a pair of free throws as Harrisburg used a 10-0 run to take a 50-43 lead with 2:34 to play.
Massac County battled back, thanks in part to a pair of 3-pointers by Sophie Bormann as the Patriots got to within one at 52-51 with 1:07 to go.
But, it was a Lydia Miller free throw with 9.1 to play, coming off a rebound after a missed free throw by McDaniel that helped Harrisburg seal the win.
The game included 13 lead changes and six ties.
Summer Sanders netted nine points for the Bulldogs (28-4), while Mya King and Gabby Adams each scored six points. Stream Black finished with five points and Miller's only points were her free throw at the end.
Harrisburg shot 41 percent from the field and went 11-of-20 from the free throw line, but were 7-of-15 in the fourth quarter. Massac County shot 47 percent from the field and 10-of-13 from the foul stripe.
Farrah Castleman led all scorers with 20 points as the junior shooting guard paced the Patriots.
After a back-and-forth start, Harrisburg grabbed a 13-7 lead on back-to-back 3-pointers by King and Essence Sanders as the Bulldogs closed out the first up 18-14.
In the second quarter, Harrisburg tgot up by as many as nine, but the Patriots used a 9-0 run to tie the game at 23-all with 2:42 to play, but Harrisburg regained the advantage at intermission, clinging to a 28-25 lead.
Four ties highlighted the third as both teams whetted the final eight minutes knotted at 37.
Anna-Jonesboro 38, Eldorado 37
It was a rough start for Eldorado, who trailed 10-0 after the first quarter and were down 23-6 at halftime.
The Eagles (25-4) picked up the pace on both ends and were able to hold A-J scoreless for the final 6:00 of the third quarter and used a 9-0 run capped off by two free throws by Lexie Mitchell to get to within 11 at 28-17 entering the fourth quarter.
Again, Eldorado stormed back after a triple by Mitchell with 1:45 to play and a free throw by Karis Lane capped off an 8-0 run with 1:38 to play to get the Eagles to within five at 34-29.
Four Lily Mosby free throws got Eldorado to within two at 35-33 with 45.2 to go and the Eagles tied the game at 35-all after two free throws by Paige Munds, but Reagan Cruse made 1-of-2 from the charity stripe to give the Wildcats (23-10) a one-point cushion at 36-35, until Mosby bucket under the basket gave Eldorado a 37-36 lead with 8.8 to play.
A-J's Kristin Edmonds was fouled with 4.7 to play where the sophomore point guard sunk both free throws and Eldorado was unable to get a final shot off, setting up a championship rematch from last year's Wayne City Regional, where Harrisburg was able to beat Anna-Jonesboro.
Eldorado put two players in double figures, led by 15 points from Mitchell and another 11 points from Mosby.
Munds scored six points, while Lane tacked on three and Emma Wargel was held to two points.
No A-J player scored in double figures as the Wildcats got nine points from both Anna Hess and Cruse.

Spyder Dann covers prep and college sports for the Southern Illinois Local Media News Group. Follow him on Twitter: @spydieshooter.