BY AARON HAGEN
WORTHINGTON -- Southwest Christian had a quick start to Tuesday’s girls basketball playoff game.
After Red Rock Central battled back and tied the game with 3:28 remaining, the Eagles answered to pull away from the Falcons in a 70-63 victory to advance to Friday’s sub-section final.
“We had a great first half,” SWC head coach Denise Nerem said. “I thought we really attacked well in the first half. In the second half, we had a period there where they were really tentative and we went cold. Hats off to Red Rock, they are a really good team. We feel great about being able to play on Friday.”
On Tuesday, RRC gave SWC all it could handle.
“I have such a resilient group of kids,” RRC head coach Jeff Balz said. “We caused a lot of turnovers, we got out and ran and we made some shots when we needed to make some shots. They made a play and we’d come back and make one play or two plays. It was great back and forth basketball.”
The Eagles led by as many as 19 (30-11) in the first half and took a 34-20 advantage into halftime.
Out of the break, the lead remained 13 (46-33), but RRC started to chip away and after a three-point play by Haley Simonson (20 points), the game was tied at 51. The score was again tied at 54, but SWC’s Jazlynn Prins (17 points) hit a 3 and Hannah Nerem (15 points) made a jumper to give the Eagles the lead. They wouldn’t trail again as they made 11 free throws in the final 1:27.
“They are a good team and they won’t go away,” Coach Nerem said. “We know that. I thought the kids showed a lot of fight there toward the end. We didn’t make all our free throws, that’s for sure, but we made enough.”
Maren Nerem had 17 points and 14 rebounds for SWC.
Red Rock Central 20 63
Southwest Christian 34 70