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By DANIEL L. CHAMNESS
For Rantoul Press
The Urbana Tigers did all they could, but Rantoul Township High School’s girls cagers have Hannah Washer, and they simply did not have an answer.
Wascher, who reigned supreme on Monday night, scored 27 points and grabbed 12 boards as RTHS defeated Urbana 56-25 in the Illinois High School Class 3A Regional.
The hosts played the Tigers for a total of 32 minutes, but the game was decided long before the final buzzer sounded.
“We knew we would have the advantage inside,” Rantoul mentor Jeff McKaufsky said. “We wanted everyone to crash the boards. We had way too many turnovers tonight, and at times, we played way too fast. When we passed it around and looked for a good shot, we knocked them down.”
While Wascher dominated inside, the Eagles proved they were equally adept at hitting three-pointers, especially from the right wing. In the second quarter, Ryann Dixon, Wascher and Diamond Walker all hit from there.
Wascher’s trey at the 6:13 to play in the first half gave RTHS a 21-11 lead. They stretched that lead to 16 by the end of the first half and by 21 at the end of the third stanza.
The Eagles finished with seven treys, all but two coming from the right wing. In the fourth and final quarter, RTHS scored the first nine points of the quarter. Urbana’s Krista Broom scored the only bucket of the quarter for the Tigers, hitting a field goal at 1:08.
Urbana, playing a 3-2 zone, could do little to limit Wascher. While they tried to run and gun, the Tigers were limited by poor shooting. The 6-foot Wascher hit from inside mainly, but did venture outside to hit a 15-foot jumper.
RTHS led 15-10 at the end of the first quarter. Wascher was already in double figures by the end of the quarter, scoring 12 of those 15. The Eagles took the lead for good on a pair of Hannah Wascher free throws with 1:02 to play in the first quarter.
“If Urbana had hit their shots at the beginning of the game, it may have been a little different game,” Jasmine Riggs, Rantoul’s sophomore point guard, said. “When we hit from the outside, it helps Hannah on the inside. It does seem that we do prefer the right wing.”
To open the third quarter, RTHS scored the first eight points, punctuated by a pair of treys from Riggs. She hit one at the 4:21 mark and another 23 seconds later. The run gave Rantoul a 42-18 lead.
In addition to Wascher’s double-double, Riggs had eight points on two treys and two free throws. Walker added six.
For the Tigers, Ronnie Portis finished with 10 points, while Jessica Mack had eight. Urbana ends its season with a 2-29 mark. RTHS improved to 8-20 and was scheduled to face the top seeded Champaign Centennial on Tuesday night. (Results were unavailable at press time.)