Big Blue fall in sectional final

Ursuline uses late run to pull away from Hamilton.

KINGS MILLS — Hamilton High School’s hopes of advancing to the Division I girls basketball district finals were dashed Saturday night.

Ursuline closed out a tight game with a 6-0 run over the final minute to pull away with a 50-42 victory over the Big Blue in the sectional finals at Kings High School. The Lions advanced to face No. 2 seed Princeton next Saturday at 1 p.m. at Harrison High School.

Hamilton (13-10) got within two points three times in the fourth quarter but could never pull even or regain the lead after the Lions (15-8) closed out the first quarter on a 7-1 run to take a 17-11 lead.

“I don’t know if you want to chalk it up to nerves or what, but we were never able to execute our half-court offense the way we wanted to, especially in the first half,” Hamilton coach Stefenie Miller said. “We rushed our shots and we rushed our passes, which resulted in a lot of turnovers.

“Credit Ursuline for a lot of that. They played us well defensively. Our kids played hard, but we just didn’t have it tonight.”

The Big Blue committed 21 turnovers on the night, which Ursuline converted into 24 points.

The big story was the offensive glass, where the Lions dominated, grabbing 17 rebounds (33 total) while holding Hamilton to just five offensive rebounds.

“Seventeen offensive rebounds is a lot for us and probably the most telling stat of the game,” Ursuline coach Keith Starks said. “Our ability to crash the boards won the game for us tonight.

“I told the girls before the game that an ugly win is better than a pretty loss, and this was an ugly win.”

Kate Reilly scored 17 points to pace the Lions, but it was her younger sister, Sarah, who grabbed 10 rebounds — six offensive — and sank two free throws with 13 seconds remaining to seal the win.

Hamilton was led by Desiree Ash, who scored 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds, and Jillian Spurlock, who finished with 17 points and five assists.

“Those two seemed to always come through when we needed a basket. We just couldn’t get over the hump and tie the game or get the lead in the second half,” Miller said.

“But you know, it’s been a heck of a season. These girls far exceeded everyone’s expectations, and our four seniors (Ash, DeSatin Curtis, Benedicte Kage and Hannah Keene) will be hard to replace next year. They were the base of everything we were able to accomplish this season.”

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