MIDDLETOWN — The Badin High School girls basketball team met its biggest challenge of the postseason on Tuesday night.
Once they got rolling, things looked anything but difficult for the state’s seventh-ranked team.
Braelyn Even had a double-double — 22 points and 11 rebounds — Gracie Cosgrove added 11 points and No. 2 seed Badin supplied a dominant defense in the second half to secure a 47-29 Division II victory over No. 8 Indian Hill at Middletown’s Wade E. Miller Arena.
The Rams (22-2), who have won 12 in a row, were held to their lowest point total of the season. Badin is 9-0 in the sectional tournament at Middletown and has reached the Division II district title game for a third straight time.
Badin will face the winner of Thursday’s Waynesville-Carroll matchup for a district championship next Friday, Feb. 24, at Mason Middle School.
“When we came out, it was a little messy,” said Cosgrove, a sophomore guard. “It wasn’t to our full potential. But then we started to relax and get used to it. We started to get back into things. We started playing, and it all came from our defense.”
The Rams had to get used to playing a full 32 minutes Tuesday night. They outscored their first two postseason opponents, Franklin and New Richmond, a combined 141-13.
“I thought we came out nervous in the first quarter — which is expected,” Badin coach Tom Sunderman said. “I’m not going to lie, I was nervous all day. I was telling the girls that. Why?”
He said his Rams had played some of their best basketball earlier in the season during an eight-game stretch of tough opponents in 19 days, including wins over No. 1 ranked Alter, Chaminade Julienne and Seton.
“And then we hadn’t had a tough game in two weeks,” Sunderman added.
Badin and Indian Hill traded buckets the entire first quarter, and the Rams took a 12-11 lead into the second frame.
Both teams shot 30% from the floor in the first half, but Badin won the second quarter 12-6 to take a 24-17 lead.
“We knew we had to step up our game,” said Even, a freshman forward. “The last two games we could have played bad and still beat those teams. So we had to come out with full energy. We knew Indian Hill was good and that they were fast. We just had to come out with a lot of energy.”
It took a little time for that energy to emerge.
The Rams put together an 8-0 run — their largest of the game — at the end of the second quarter that trickled into the third.
Badin led 28-17 thanks to an Alyvia Hegemann transition layup with 5:30 left in the third period. Jenna Arnold knocked down a 3-pointer for Indian Hill that cut it to 28-20 with about five minutes remaining in the quarter.
The Rams outscored the Braves 19-9 the rest of the way. Badin took advantage of 21 points off turnovers. Indian Hill had zero.
“That’s a big stat,” Sunderman said. “We rely on our defense, and that’s the bottom line.”
Brooke Arrington paced Indian Hill with 11 points, while Kamryn James pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds.
Fayetteville-Perry 48, Cin. Christian 8
Savannah Johnson led Cincinnati Christian with four points as the Cougars fell to Fayetteville-Perry 48-8 in a Division IV sectional contest on Tuesday night at Monroe.
Stephanie Veldkamp and Anna Bowling each had two points for CCS, which saw its season end at 10-12.
The Cougars fell behind 14-2 after one quarter, were held scoreless in the second quarter and could never make a recovery.
Rockets senior Anne Murphy scored a game-high 14 points.
Cincinnati Christian graduates Veldkamp and senior Hailey Bowling.