For the third time this season the Hilton Head Prep girls basketball team found itself on the losing end of a battle with Northwood Academy, as the Chargers held off the Dolphins, 43-35, in the semifinals of the SCISAA Class 3-A state tournament Friday in Sumter.
"We outplayed them in every facet of the game, other than making a basket," Prep coach Bob Sulek said.
The Chargers bolted to a 12-4 lead after one quarter, but Hilton Head Prep (25-6) quickly mounted a comeback and trailed by four at the half. Northwood Academy (28-2) kept the four-point lead going into the final quarter. Prep was able to cut the deficit to two, and only trailed by three with about two minutes to play, but couldn't finish off the comeback.
"It was a really tight game," Sulek said. "We couldn't get ahead.
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"We played brilliantly, we had higher energy," he added. "We had them in trouble going into the fourth quarter."
Prep out-rebounded Northwood Academy, 39-14, with the help of 26 offensive boards. Northwood Academy finished with 20 turnovers to Prep's 14. Prep took 55 shots from the field while the Chargers had just 31 attempts.
Prep made just 13 of its 46 shots from inside the 3-point line -- 28 percent -- and went 6 for 16 from the free-throw line.
"If we could just make 33 percent of our shots, we win by 15," Sulek said. "We couldn't make a shot."
Jamese Franklin led the way for Prep, going 8 for 13 from the field for 16 points. She also had eight rebounds and two steals. Jill Brunori had 10 rebounds, six steals and four assists.
It was the final game for three Prep seniors: Kate Brunori, Kathleen Blum and Lane Czura. Brunori had nine points, 13 rebounds and three steals, while Blum finished with seven points. The three seniors own 10 SCISAA basketball championship rings between them.
"It was a terrific run for these three seniors," Sulek said.
Northwood Academy advances to Saturday's SCISAA Class 3-A championship game against either Pinewood Prep or Heathwood Hall. Game time is 6:30 p.m. at the Sumter Civic Center.