Warriors fall to Northwood-Lena in semfinals again

Published 3:53 pm Tuesday, February 27, 2024

No. 3 Hamilton Christian took two-time defending select Division IV state champion Northwood-Lena down to the wire Tuesday but came up short in its second ever trip to the state tournament.

No. 2 Northwood won 48-41 to advance to the finals for the fourth consecutive season.

Hamilton lost to the Gators 63-39 in last year’s semifinals.

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Riley Fontenot was the Warriors (26-7) top scorer with 11 points. Destiny Ware finished with 10 and Kayla Harding had seven points and 14 rebounds. McKenzie Deville finished with seven points, seven assists and four steals, but was held well below her season average of 22 points by the Gators.

The teams traded leads early in the fourth quarter, but the Warriors struggled offensively down the stretch, shooting 15.4 percent in the fourth quarter.

With 25 seconds left, the Warriors trailed 44-41 after a free throw by Ware.

Harding drilled a three-pointer at the end of the first quarter to tie the game at 14-14, but the Gators opened the second quarter with a 9-4 run and led 27-24 at halftime.

Senior Rhianna Battles led Northwood (19-12) with a game-high 21 points, and Ja’Shira Henson added 10 points.

Northwood will play the winner out of No. 1 Southern Lab and No. 4 Sacred Heart on Friday at 2 p.m. in the finals.