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Late rally comes up short for Bulldogs against Nashville

  • Harrisburg's Lydia Miller had a game-high 14 points in the Bulldogs' 44-36 loss to Nashville in Tuesday night's Sectional semifinal loss to the Hornets at Carterville High School.

    Harrisburg's Lydia Miller had a game-high 14 points in the Bulldogs' 44-36 loss to Nashville in Tuesday night's Sectional semifinal loss to the Hornets at Carterville High School.
    SPYDER DANN | mdann@dailyregister.com

 
By Spyder Dann mdann@dailyregister.com
updated: 2/19/2020 9:39 AM

Harrisburg and Nashville are certainly no stranger to each other when it comes to postseason play. The two southern Illinois girls basketball powerhouses have met three times -- the fourth Tuesday at the Carterville 2A sectional semifinal -- where in the trio of previous games, the Hornets total score vs. the 'Dogs is 110-109.
Further proof that one is the loneliest number.
Harrisburg still only has one postseason win over Nashville as the Hornets are now 3-1 with a 44-36 victory and will now play SIRR Mississippi rival Carterville for the title Thursday night.
Nashville shot 48 percent from the field and Alyssa Cole had a team-high 12 points, including a a 5-for-6 clip from the free throw line in the fourth quarter to help the Hornets hold off a late run by Harrisburg after getting to within four, twice in the final eight minutes.
Nashville finished 12-for-25 from the floor, including going 6-for-10 from 3-point range and 14-of-22 from the foul line, while Daphne Kolbaum joined Cole in double figure scoring with 10 points.
"They shot well. I mean, that's plain and simple," Harrisburg head coach Jake Stewart said. "We made kids shoot and make shots that typically don't do that. So, they just played better than us tonight. 
"We get it to four, four a few times, and we did not get that play that we needed to put a little pressure on them. We'd have a look or we might throw the ball away or just miss the open shot. So that's how this game goes. Whoever makes the better plays wins."
Harrisburg and Nashville exchanged blows in the first quarter and fought through five lead changes and two ties as Nashville grabbed an early 17-11 lead after one.
When the Hornets took a 11-9 lead in the first, they never looked back, leading 23-19 at halftime.
Harrisburg came out quick in the third quarter and got to within one at 23-222. after a 3-pointer by Summer Sanders and a bucket by Lydia Miller, but Nashville pushed the lead out to six at 30-24, going into the final eight minutes.
Again, Harrisburg got to within four two times, once at 32-28 and 34-30 after a pair of free throws and a basket by Miller, but in-between each score was a pair of free throws by Cole. A Sabrina Kollbaum 3-pointer pushed the lead to nine at 39-30 to put the game out of reach with 3:48 to play.
Harrisburg shot 11-for-31 from the field for 35 percent and 3-for-15 from long range, while shooting 11-for-17 at the foul line.
Miller, who picked up three fouls with 3:36 left to play in the first quarter, led the 'Dogs with 14 points.
Lauren McDaniel, Essence Sanders and Summer Sanders all scored seven points, while Stream Black added a free throw.
Harrisburg finishes the season 29-5 and in addition to winning a fourth straight regional and SIRR Ohio Conference crown, the Bulldogs were winners of their own Harrisburg Invite, took third in the Benton Christmas Tournament and were runner ups at the Eldorado Mid-Winter Tournament.
"Another great year," Stewart said. "We replaced four starters off of last years team. Essence was the only person back. Lauren and Lydia hadn't played in a year and a half and not knowing what to expect, Gabby (Adams) and Mya (King) stepped in to start and they'd never even played varsity, much less start. (Lauryn) Gribble and Stream (Black) had to step up this year off of the bench and did some good things for us so we're just going to try to look to reload next year with the same thing where we'll be replacing five starters.

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