DWIGHT – Gardner-South Wilmington rolled past a Tri-Point team with which it split during the regular season, winning 61-30 Monday night at the Class 1A Dwight girls basketball Regional.
"We spent a lot more time preparing for this game," GSW coach Adam Leigh said. "I think the girls knew they could win this game. ... I told the girls, I said, 'Hey, we know that we can compete, that we can beat this team. We just gotta go out there and execute it."
GSW went ahead to stay on a Breann Fisher putback basket with 3:01 remaining in the first quarter. The points were the third and fourth of a 12-0 Panthers run that spanned the first and second quarters. Fisher produced three baskets during the stretch.
After Tri-Point countered with a Kadie Long 3-pointer and a Dayna Moritz free throw, GSW reeled off eight more unanswered points on baskets by four different players. GSW then scored the final four points of the first half and the first five of the second, with an Ally Matthews 3-pointer highlighting its start to the third quarter.
At halftime, the Lady Panthers had attempted 23 more shots than Tri-Point, largely because they had a 28-13 advantage in rebounds and 10 turnovers to the Chargers’ 18.
Three-pointers from Emily Foley and Matthews helped GSW continue to add to its lead in the third, and after Tri-Point made a pair of 3s of its own, the Lady Panthers closed the third on a 6-0 run, with Jenni Price scoring four of the points. They led 48-22 at quarter’s end.
It was not all smooth sailing in the fourth, when the Lady Panthers turned the ball over eight times and were shut out for over two minutes to start, but their lead going in was large enough that it was never really threatened.
Lexi Posing had a double-double with 13 points and 16 rebounds, along with two assists and three steals, for GSW. Matthews scored 12 points and had seven steals, and Fisher and Miranda Residori had 10 points each.
"I knew that we played them twice and it's been close each time, so I knew that we had to out-rebound them and play better defense," Posing said. "We rebounded a lot better. We knew that they were gonna be a tough game, so we came in ready for that. We also pressed a lot better -- cut them off on the sidelines and everything else that [Leigh] told us we needed to do."
In the first of two semifinal games Wednesday at Dwight, the Lady Panthers will face top-seeded Newark. GSW lost 53-10 to Newark during the regular season.
"The girls saw the score against Newark. They know what we're up against," Leigh said, "so we're gonna prepare tomorrow and go with the mentality that we can only improve and see what happens on Wednesday night."