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Pioneer hangs on behind Brooke’s 28, beats Lewis Cass to advance to sectional final

Next up: North Miami in sectional final at 7:30 p.m. today


Sports Editor, RTC

Ashlynn Brooke

WALTON — Lewis Cass junior forward Kinsey Mennen might have the wingspan of a 747, but Pioneer senior point guard Ashlynn Brooke soared above the clouds during the teams’ Class 2A, Sectional 36 semifinal game at Lewis Cass Friday.

Brooke scored a game-high 28 points and surpassed the 1,500 point mark for her career as Pioneer squeezed out a 40-36 win.

No. 10 Pioneer improved to 21-3 and advanced to face North Miami in the final. North Miami eliminated Winamac 49-31 in the other semifinal.

Brooke scored 13 of Pioneer’s 16 points in the second half.

Paula Collado Fernandez added six points for Pioneer.

Brooke and Collado Fernandez were the only Pioneer players to have more than one field goal.

“I think when you’re able to run some of the stuff that we run, and we get in the lane, and we’re used to being able to finish,” Pioneer coach Jeff Brooke said. “When you got a six-foot girl in there who’s got the wingspan of a 747, it’s hard to finish sometimes.”

Elly Logan made 11 of 17 free throws and led Lewis Cass (7-17) with 15 points. Mennen, a 6-1 junior, had nine points, 13 rebounds and six blocked shots.

Pioneer scored the first 10 points – Brooke and Collado Fernandez combined for all 10 points – and never trailed. Trailing 10-0, Lewis Cass coach Kyle Amor called a 30-second timeout with 5:32 left in the first quarter, and Lewis Cass got within 10-5 in less than a minute.

From there, Lewis Cass’ box-in-one defense – one player guarding Brooke and the other four in a zone – turned the game into an intense defensive struggle.

Lewis Cass gnawed at the lead and got within 33-31 on Anna Hedrick’s short jumper with 5:34 left, but the Lady Kings did not score again for over four minutes.

Brooke hit two free throws with 5:15 left and two more with 1:24 left to up the lead to 37-31.

Hedrick scored again off dribble penetration.

Brooke missed the front end of a one-and-one with 55.7 seconds left. Amor called timeout with 44.4 seconds left.

Julia McGrew fouled Logan with 43.2 seconds left, and Logan made the first free throw to make it 37-34. She missed the second free throw, but Mennen got the offensive rebound. She quickly passed to Logan, but Pioneer’s Kylie Attinger stripped her, and Brooke drilled two free throws with 36.1 seconds left.

Pioneer went the final 10:51 without a field goal. Coach Brooke described Pioneer’s offensive execution as “horrible.”

“I think our girls didn’t do a good job of getting in the right places,” coach Brooke said. “I thought we had the opportunity to make some buckets, and we made poor passes. I know in that second quarter there were a couple times Kylie Attinger was open on that weak side in our ‘Kansas’ (play), and we couldn’t get the ball to her. Ashlynn, I thought, forced a couple things there. Instead of taking it to the rack, I think she settled for that step-back instead of crossing over and coming back and making that counter. … The girls are kind of down because they didn’t play to their best tonight. But you’ve got to remind them tomorrow’s a new day.”

Ashlynn Brooke came in with 1,491 career points and needed less than a quarter to get to 1,500.

“I always say whoever starts the best is going to win the game, in my opinion,” Ashlynn Brooke said. “So I always want to come out, show them what we got and go from there. Obviously, they kind of came back, but we luckily won.”

It was a two-possession lead for the remainder.

Pioneer forced 22 turnovers. They extended the 2-3 zone into a halfcourt trap to start the second half against freshmen guards Hedrick and Aftin Griffin.

“Well, Pioneer’s defense, especially when they brought up that trapping 2-3 zone, definitely added into that,” Amor said. “But to be honest, we’re sitting at that 20-turnover-a-game mark, but when you see freshmen have to handle the ball as often as we do, I think that number’s going to be high. But I’m excited that those two players in Anna and Aftin, it’s going to pay dividends, and I think we’ll all see it next year.”

Pioneer 40, Lewis Cass 36

LEWIS CASS (36) (7-17)

Aftin Griffin 2 0-0 4, AnnaLeigh Hedrick 3 0-0 6, Faith Helvie 0 2-2 2, Elly Logan 2 11-17 15, Kinsey Mennen 4 0-0 9, Ava Hubner 0 0-0 0, Lauran Walker 0 0-0 0, Kylie Logan 0 0-0 0, Mylie Sipe 0 0-0 0

TEAM: 11 13-19 36

PIONEER (40) (21-3)

Makenna Strycker 0 2-4 2, Ashlynn Brooke 6 14-16 28, Paula Collado Fernandez 2 2-3 6, Gracie Hopper 1 0-0 2, Kylie Attinger 1 0-0 2, Crystabelle Blickenstaff 0 0-0 0, Julia McGrew 0 0-2 0

TEAM: 10 18-25 40

Three-point field goals:

Lewis Cass 1 (Mennen),

Pioneer 2 (Brooke 2)

Total fouls: Lewis Cass 20, Pioneer 14

Turnovers: Lewis Cass 22, Pioneer 13

Score by quarters

Lewis Cass 10 8 11 7 – 36

Pioneer 14 10 9 7 – 40

North Miami 49, Winamac 31

Kaiden Hanley scored 21 of her game-high 28 points in the second half and also grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the North Miami girls basketball team past Winamac in a Class 2A, Sectional 36 semifinal at Lewis Cass Friday.

Ellie Musselman scored all six of her points in the first half, and Emily Smith scored all six of her points in the second half for North Miami, who bounced back from a 44-point home loss to Huntington North in their regular season finale Saturday and improved to 18-5.

Chloe Rausch knocked down three 3-pointers and led Winamac (4-20) with nine points. Piper Link added eight. Hailey Attinger had a team-high 11 rebounds to go with four points.

North Miami made 11 of 17 free throws while Winamac made just 1 of 9.

Winamac led 21-18 at halftime, but North Miami opened the second half with a 9-1 run and never trailed again.

Winamac got back within 27-26 in the third quarter on a Link driving banker, but North Miami went on a 14-0 run that stretched into the fourth quarter. The run included five transition buckets off Winamac turnovers.

Hanley capped the run with a layup off an Allison Bowman assist to make it 41-26.

The 18-point final margin represented North Miami’s largest lead.

NORTH MIAMI (49) (18-5)

Allison Bowman 1 0-0 3, Kaiden Hanley 9 9-10 28, Laney Musall 2 0-0 4, Ellie Musselman 2 0-2 6, Molly Freeman 0 2-2 2, Grace Sailors 0 0-1 0, Jlynn Piercy 0 0-0 0, Victoria Masters 0 0-2 0, Aricyn Hunt 0 0-0 0, Jordyn Hackworth 0 0-0 0, Emily Smith 3 0-0 6, Kiearra Springer 0 0-0 0

TEAM: 17 11-17 49

WINAMAC (31) (4-20)

Maggie Smith 0 0-0 0, Kandace Kroft 2 0-2 5, Chloe Rausch 3 0-0 9, Piper Link 4 0-0 8, Hailey Attinger 2 0-2 4, Cyaira Wolford 0 0-0 0, Emma Goodman 2 1-5 5, Lauren Bruce 0 0-0 0, Lily Bennett 0 0-0 0, Brody Goodman 0 0-0 0, Marissa Iverson 0 0-0 0, Kaelyn O’Connor 0 0-0 0

TEAM: 13 1-9 31

Three-point field goals:

North Miami 4 (Musselman 2, Hanley, Bowman),

Winamac 4 (Rausch 3, Kroft)

Total fouls: North Miami 13, Winamac 14

Turnovers: North Miami 12, Winamac 26

Score by quarters

North Miami 10 8 19 12 – 49

Winamac 13 8 5 5 – 31

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