...TC Mount Hebron clinched a tie for its 12th county championship in girls basketball in 14 seasons and asserted itself as the area's top-ranked team last night by crushing No. 4 Howard, 72-29.
The host Vikings (19-1, 12-0), staging what Dave Greenberg called their best performance of the season, extended their win streak to 19 games by controlling the Lions (17-3, 10-2) in every phase of the game.
The Vikings forced 26 turnovers and limited the Lions, who entered the game averaging 56 points, to their lowest offensive output of the season. Hebron dominated the boards with a 41-17 rebounding advantage. And the Vikings ran their offense flawlessly, particularly during a 43-point second half that saw Hebron turn a 29-16 halftime cushion into a rout.
"We were trying to feel like we were the underdogs," said Mount Hebron junior forward Sandra Benson, who scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds as the Vikings bounced back from a shaky, 52-48 victory Tuesday at Hammond. "That makes us work harder. We're a team that always has to work. We can't go out there and play at half speed."
Greenberg, whose Vikings are going after their sixth state title in seven years, agreed that it's a challenge. "It's tough when everyone is gunning for you. We have great leadership, and that's extremely unusual for a team with no seniors," he said. "But they responded tonight the way they have all year -- terrifically."
Four Hebron players scored in double figures; Howard had none. Sophomore guard Emily Yanero led all scorers with 17 points.