HERRIN — Fourth-seeded Herrin used a big fourth quarter to take down top-seeded Mount Vernon, 44-28, on Tuesday in the semifinals of the Herrin Class 3A girls basketball regional.
The Tigers held the Lady Rams to just six points in the final period and hit their free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
“I preached to them that we needed to hold them under 40 points, and that was our goal,” said Herrin coach Bill Green. “I thought our defense was awfully good. We’re starting to get to where I thought we should’ve been around Christmas. The kids are starting to believe in themselves a little bit more.”
The Lady Rams just couldn’t stop the low post duo of Abby Horn and Whitney Woodis. Horn racked up 15 points and 15 rebounds, while Whitney Woodis contributed 15 points as well.
Hannah Owens scored in the paint for Mount Vernon to close out the third quarter. That pulled the Lady Rams within five. But Herrin (20-9) started strong in the final frame with the first six points, including baskets from Horn and Jesika Alongi.
Owens and Aaliyah Palmer notched baskets for Mount Vernon to trim the deficit to seven, but once Mount Vernon had to foul, the Tigers came up big from the charity stripe.
Alongi made 5-of-6 from the foul line in the final two and a half minutes of the game.
“I think we’re starting to be a team, and we’ve been looking for that for a while,” Green said. “It’s tournament time at the end of the year and anything can happen. Our kids are pumped.”
Mount Vernon (20-7) just looked out of sorts for most of the game. Nothing went right for the South Seven Conference champions.
“We didn’t play well, and what really gave us issues was their size,” said Mount Vernon coach Jeff Lonnon. “We settled for too many threes, and then we finally, when we got tired, we couldn’t shoot it all.”
Herrin takes on Massac County for the regional crown at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.