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By LARRY GOFFINET
FERDINAND—Different heroes keep stepping up for Perry Central’s girls basketball team.
Friday it was Erica Hill in the second half as the Commodores held off North Posey 55-49 to advance to the Forest Park sectional championship game.
Perry Central hit 61.9 percent from the field and outrebounded the Vikings 20-5 in the first half to build a 28-14 lead.
Center Ashley Graves was 5 for 6 from the field and grabbed a team-high six rebounds.
But she did not get a rebound in the second half, as she was in foul trouble throughout it.
North Posey improved its shooting and rebounding in the second half and cut the Commodores’ lead to two points, 36-34, on a 17-footer by Madison Worman early in the fourth quarter.
Perry Central replied with a 5-0 run in a 17-second span.
Hill hit 1 of 2 free throws, Hannah Edwards made a steal and a layup, and Hill hit two more free throws to put the Commodores up 41-34 with 6:16 left.
Hill, a 5-foot-7 reserve forward, hit 7 of 8 free throws and grabbed six rebounds—all in the second half—to help keep the Commodores on top.
She said her free-throw shooting is normally “not the best (she was 6 for 21 for the season before Friday). But I actually felt confident (at the line) tonight because I wanted to win really bad.”
“Obviously that was a really big key,” said Perry Central Coach Bill Dickerson. “Free throws at the end of games haven’t been that good to us, but tonight they were.”
Graves fouled out with 1:43 left and the Vikings cut Perry Central’s lead to one, 50-49, on a drive by Kayla Sanford with 0:24 left.
But Brittany Parker hit 3 of 4 free throws and Edwards made 2 of 2 in the final 20 seconds. North Posey missed two three-point shots in that span.
Graves led Perry Central with 20 points on 9 of 12 field-goal shooting and 2 of 3 free throws.
All of her baskets came in the low post, many on nice passes from Morgan Richardson, who had eight assists—six in the first half.
Richardson also scored nine points on 3 of 6 field-goal shooting and 3 of 4 free throws.
“I thought Morgan really came to play tonight,” said Dickerson. “She came out being aggressive, and getting off to a good start really helped us.”
Parker, the shortest player on either team at 5-foot-2, led the Commodores with seven rebounds. Lynsay Goffinet, Graves and Hill each added six.
Sanford led North Posey with 17 points and Kelsey Owen grabbed seven rebounds.
Perry Central, 13-10, advanced to Saturday’s championship game against Mater Dei.
North Posey finished the season 14-9.