TINA — Bus parking space needs for Friday night's play in the Carroll-Livingston Activities Association basketball tournament will be limited as a result of Wednesday's consolation semifinals action in the tourney.
Host Tina-Avalon routinely sewed up spots in both of Friday's consolation finals with victories by wide margins over No. 8 seeds last night, while Hale secured the berths opposite T-A with second-round wins over Mendon: Northwestern, including a boys' shootout.
The T-A and Hale girls will tip off Friday's trophy-round play at 5:30 p.m., followed by the schools' boys. The girls' third-place contest will close the night.
◊ Tonight (Thursday) will see the four championship semifinals being played, beginning at 4:30 p.m. The sequence of games is the top-seeded Norborne girls against No. 4 Hardin-Central, then the No. 3 Hardin-Central boys against No. 2 Southwest Livingston. The third game will pit the No. 2 seed Meadville girls against No. 3 Southwest Livingston with the finale having boys' No. 1 Meadville meeting No. 5 Norborne.
Tonight's girls' games are intriguing rematches or second rematches.
Norborne's girls could have been outright regular-season CLAA champions, but for an early-January loss to HCHS, which the Lady Pirates had beaten by 10 for the title of the season-opening Hardin-Central round-robin tournament.
Southwest Livingston, the 3-time defending champion of this tournament, were denied a share of the regular-season crown last week when Meadville won on the Lady Wildcats' home court. That instead made the Lady Eagles co-champs.
Tonight's early boys' game also should be a dandy as steadily-improving Hard-in-Central, with fine freshman Clif Kugler helping show the way, looking to reverse the 2-points loss it suffered at Southwest Livingston in those teams' CLAA openers the first week of December.
Meadville's boys will wrap up the night trying to qualify for the tournament's championship game for a fifth-straight time and sixth time in seven years before departing the league next year. The once-beaten Eagles also are 3-time defending tourney titlists.
(B) Hale 70, Mendon: Northwestern 68
Behind 28-19 at halftime, the Cardinals (6-14) – using great scoring diversity – exploded for 51 points the rest of the way and needed virtually every one of them to earn a third game in the tourney.
A 28-16 third quarter that saw them hit four 3-pointers lifted Keith Berger's HHS team into the lead at 47-44, but despite yielding 23 points tallies in the last eight minutes, NHS' Eagles (7-13) stayed right in the thick of things.
Converting nine of 12 free throws to go with seven field goals – one a trey, Northwestern produced 26 points of its own down the stretch, but came up two short.
After making only five of 15 foul shots in the first 24 minutes, Hale improved in the last eight, hitting five of seven, to go with nine baskets – one a triple.
When the final horn sounded with Hale up by two for perhaps its best win of the season, five of the seven Cardinals had scored in double digits, led by Cord Summers' 23 points. Keith Nelson had a couple of treys and free throws for the last two HHS points – the margin of victory – as he netted 13 points totals. Erik Stephens tallied 12 and Tyler Acklin and Haden Heussner 10 each, with Stephens and Acklin each draining two 3s.
Northwestern's Luke Sander led all scorers with 27 points, 11 of those in the ill-fated final-period rally attempt. Jacob Sanders contributed 13 and Kolten Linscott had 12, each of them going a perfect four of four at the stripe to lead a 20-of-24 team performance.
(G) Hale 57, Mendon: Northwestern 38
In a rematch of a Meadville Invitational Tournament game two weeks before, the Lady Cardinals (12-8) had an easier time of it at the end, thanks to a big finish.
Up by four at halftime after Quincey Copple popped in 11 of her game-high 22 points in the second quarter, Hale's girls more than doubled that margin to nine in the third and then outscored the Lady Eagles (9-12) 16-6 in the final frame.
In addition to Copple's output, Hale got 11 points from Morgan Daniels and eight each from its other three starters – Tristyn Grant, Shaylee Summers, and Courtney Eddins.
Northwestern, which had given Southwest Livingston a scare in the quarterfinals, got 12 points from Mallory Gardner and 10 by Kynlee Marnin.
(G) Tina-Avalon 53, Breckenridge 22
Meeting a 6-member BHS team playing a third time in three nights, the Lady Dragons (11-11) had absolutely no trouble moving on. T-A led 34-8 at halftime after a 21-2 second stanza and the "running clock" was in use throughout the closing frame.
Four of the seven Lady Dragons scored in twin digits, paced by Kelsey Garber's 18. Jenna Holmer and Lacey Rucker each went for 11 and Ashley McCracken 10.
For the Lady Bulldogs (4-15), Lauren Robison tallied 13.
(B) Tina-Avalon 67, Bosworth 28
Dragon Noah Meyers scored all 26 of his points in the last three periods and Dylan Rucker added 15 for the host team. Joe Ray added nine as the Dragons (11-10) advanced to Friday play.
Bosworth (1-14) was led by Hunter Brown's 10 markers with T.J. Ikenberry adding nine and Thomas Painter eight.