By Clyde Travis
Peoria All the jitters that Hillcrest felt against Peoria Central in Fridays Class 3A semifinal disappeared against Springfield Lanphier Saturday.
The Hawks played loose and went on to defeat the Lions 72-67 to capture third place Saturday at Carver Arena.
Our girls lost the same way we did in their opening semifinal game, but they fought back to bring home the third-place trophy," Hillcrest senior Jalen Loving said, "and we wanted to do the same thing."
Hillcrest had things going its way early, racing out to a 24-8 lead in the second quarter and 33-20 halftime lead.
The Hawks continued their aggressive play in the third quarter and carried a 53-42 lead into the final period. But the Lions would not go quietly despite being down by 17 in the final period.
Lanphier clawed back and trimmed the lead to 67-62 with 1:18 to play. But a basket by Loving and two free throws by Jayone Troutman, sealed the win for the Hawks.
Loving had a game-high 13 rebounds to go along with his 15 points.
We had our pity party at dinner last night and they got it out of their system and realized that there was more basketball to be played, Hillcrest coach Don Houston said. We were in the Final Four of the state and we have a lot of things to look forward to in the future.
Brent Buchanan and Troutman each added 15 points for Hillcrest, and Javon Morning was the fourth player in double figures with 12.
Larry Austin led Lanphier with 16 points. TJ Davis scored 15 points and Everett Clemons had 14.
Lions coach Chuck Shanklin said it was Hillcrests length and athleticism that caused problems.
They are tall, long and they are quick," Shanklin said. "Our pressure did not get to them and they were able to pass over anything we were trying to do.
"Our hats go off to them. They are a great team. I am proud of my teams effort and what we accomplished this season."