The end of the third quarter was like déjà vu for the Lady Lancers.
Lutheran South (21-5) again struck from three-point range in the final seconds of the third quarter to gather a burst of momentum and finish off Pacific (12-14), 60-48, in the semifinals of the Class 4 District 3 Tournament Monday at Hillsboro.
The Lady Lancers pulled off the same feat at the end of the third quarter against the Lady Indians exactly one month prior in the championship game of the Washington Tournament on Jan. 25. On that occasion, it was Chloe Akerson who hit the deep three that ended what had been an 8-0 run for the Lady Indians.
Monday it was Emma Pawlitz whose three at the buzzer to end the third period lifted the Lady Lancers to a 10-point advantage going into the final period. The sharpshooter on the night, Pawlitz finished with 27 points in the contest on 5-8 from three-point territory.
Lutheran South held a 15-10 lead at the end of the first quarter, 28-25 at the half and 43-33 at the end of the third.
“We’d fall behind and we’d fight back,” Pacfic Head Coach Bill Thoele said. “We had four chances to take the lead (down by one early in the third quarter) and we never got the lead. I think if we got that lead (things might have gone differently). We missed a couple of layups, but it’s basketball and we’re humans.”
Even more poignant than Pawlitz’s three-point shooting was her 10-10 mark from the free-throw line, where the Lady Lancers put through 30 out of 37 attempts on the night.
“Half their points came from the free-throw line,” Thoele said. “Late we had to foul them, but one of our keys today was keeping them off the free-throw line and we didn’t do that.”
Maddie King was the leading scorer for Pacific with 17 points.
Cori O’Neill also got into double figures with 10 points.
Delia Toney netted six points, Madison Brocato five, Grace Burrows five, Annie Mueller three and Cassidy Murray two in the contest.
Brocato and O’Neill grabbed six rebounds each. Toney grabbed four rebounds, King three, Mueller three, Murray two, Burrrows one and Lilly Prichard one.
King dished out five assists. Prichard made two assists and Brocato and O’Neill each picked up one.
King grabbed four steals, Murray two and O’Neill one.
O’Neill and Burrows each blocked a shot.
“This group of girls, they’re really upset right now and they’re sad, but I’m hoping 10 years from now they’re going to look back on all the good friends they made and the good things they did,” Thoele said. “We had a good season. We went to two championship games in tournaments, beat St. Clair and beat St. James for the first time in a long time, so we had some positives.”
Following Pawlitz on the Lutheran South score sheet were Emma Heskett (10 points), Akerson (nine), Mikayla Nichols (six), Savannah Schmidt (five) and Macy Schelp (three).
The Lady Indians graduate eight seniors from the roster this season, including three starters. Burrows, King, Toney, Brocato, Morgann Harrison, Murray, Paige Pettus and Emily Gebel each concluded their varsity careers in the contest.
“I have some great (seniors),” Thoele said. “They’re not just good basketball players. They’re good kids. They do great on their studies in school. Our team GPA is like 3.6.”
Lutheran South faces the No. 4 seed, Rockwood Summit, Friday in the championship game at 5:30 p.m.