LINCOLN-Hastings St. Cecilia got timely runs at the end of both halves Friday morning, propelling the Hawkettes to a 52-42 win in the state semifinals.
St. Cecilia (23-4) will play in the state Class C2 championship game Saturday against the winner of the other semifinal between Crofton and Homer. Hershey will play the loser in the consolation game.
Hershey (21-5) led 14-12 at the end of the first quarter after Daynlee Miller scored a basket as time expired.
Both teams battled back and forth in the second quarter. But with a minute left in the first half, Clare Hamburger scored a basket to give the Hawkettes the lead at 25-23. Then Shandra Farmer made a three-pointer with about 30 seconds left to make it a five-point lead.
St. Cecilia still wasn't done. In the final seconds of the half, Hamburger drained a three to make it 31-23 at the break.
The third quarter was pretty much a stalemate and the Hawkettes led 43-34 going into the fourth.
On the first possession of the fourth, Brooke Frederick hit a three to get the Lady Panthers started. Hershey pulled to within four when Maddie Seamann scored inside with 6:45 left in the game.
But it was the closest the Panthers got. For much of the fourth quarter, the score was 45-40. Hershey kept forcing St. Cecilia to turn the ball over with its defensive pressure, but the Panthers couldn't capitalize and pull within one possession.
With about a minute and a half left, Hershey was forced to foul. The Hawkettes made all six free throws in the one-and-one situation to finally expand their lead and close the game out.
Hamburger scored a game-high 22 points to lead St. Cecilia. Morgan Nikkila followed with 14.
Miller led the Lady Panthers with 14 points in the loss. Seamann had 12.