Dover — Steinbrenner girls basketball had not allowed over 50 points all season, and they were not about to start in the regional semifinals, shutting down Strawberry Crest en route to a 50-38 win.
Strawberry Crest (25-5) had not lost in this calendar year at home (one loss on November 19th), with one of their home wins coming against Steinbrenner on January 7th by nine. The Lady Warriors needed an early spark, and they found it in their top scorers, Rachel Briere and Taylor Thigpen. Briere scored on a couple of fast break buckets early, and Thigpen hit two 3-point shots in the opening quarter putting Steinbrenner up 14-6 after one.
Senior Olivia Unger hit two 3-point shots in the second quarter, including a buzzer beater to put Steinbrenner up 29-16 at halftime. Strawberry Crest continued to struggle on offense, but began to cover the fast break more in the second half.
The Chargers Aliyah Gregory put up a game high 19, and hit a 3-point shot to close the spread to six late in the fourth quarter. After struggling initially at the free throw line, Thigpen and Brazell clinched the game from the stripe, and sent the Lady Warriors to their first ever regional final.
“I was telling myself be the ball,” Thigpen said of her free throws, “I heard my dad say on the sideline ‘make your free throws,’ and I knew I could not walk into the car and say I missed five free throws, can’t do that.”
The final will be at Steinbrenner @ 7 pm against Harmony.
Zealand Shannon / Sports Editor