No. 1 St. Frances girls hoops loses in Dick's Sporting Goods national semifinal

From Sun staff reports

No. 1 St. Frances staged a furious comeback against Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (Tenn.) and forced overtime, but lost, 56-55, at the Dick's Sporting Goods High School National Tournament girls semifinals at Christ the King in New York on Friday.

The Panthers suffered their first loss of the season, falling to 30-1, and the Hawks improved to 29-1.

Hamilton Heights opened with a 9-0 run and led 25-21 at halftime. St. Frances trailed 40-27 in the third quarter before going on a 13-0 run that started with 1:16 left in the third quarter and finished with 4:39 left in the game.

The Hawks pushed the lead back up to 50-44 with 1:44 left before the Panthers went on a 6-0 run. Angel Reese completed the comeback with a putback at the buzzer to tie the score at 50 and force overtime.

The teams traded 3-pointers in the first 50 seconds of overtime, before both did all the scoring from the free-throw line. Reese went 2-for-2 with 2:28 left for a 55-54 Panthers lead.

But on the next possession, St. Frances fouled and sent Elizabeth Balogun to the line, where she made both for the final score. Balogun went 3-for-4 from the free-throw line in the extra period.

The Panthers went cold from the field in the final 1:44. They missed five layups, including two in the last 21 seconds.

Reese finished with a game-high 20 points, 24 rebounds and six assists for St. Frances. Teammate Nia Clouden had 12 points. Balogun had 14 points for Hamilton Heights.

The Hawks will face Miami Country Day (Fla.), a 55-48 winner over Seton Catholic (Ariz.) in today's championship at 10 a.m. on ESPN2.

SF—Davis 13, Reese 20, Pinnick 9, Carroll, Clouden 12. Totals 17 17-27 55.

HH—Massengill 12, Balogun 14, Hunt 9, Cardosa 4, Doumbia 4, Hickey-White 4. Totals 22 7-14 56. Half: HH, 24-21.

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