February 27, 2005
It usually takes Highland forward Erica Harris four or five games to score 25 points. But since time is running out in the 2004-05 season, Harris seemed intent on tallying that total in one night.
Her timing couldn’t have been better as Highland used her low-post scoring and the team’s good free-throw shooting in the final 2 1 /2 minutes to post a 62-53 victory over Corona del Sol in a tightly contested 5A girls basketball quarterfinal contest.
"Not only was she making shots inside, but she was getting fouled and making them," Highland coach Miner Webster said. "She did a great job for us."
The 25 points was a career high for the Hawks senior, whose role is usually confined to defense and rebounding. The victory puts Highland (30-5) in the semifinals against Desert Vista, a 76-53 winner over Chandler, on Friday at 6:45
p.m. at Glendale Arena.
Corona del Sol (25-8) saw its season end in the quarterfinals at the hands of Highland for the second consecutive season. Seven of Corona’s losses were to teams that reached the quarterfinals.
Highland led after one quarter by six and as much as nine in the second period before Corona came to life offensively. A 17-5 run in the final five minutes of the second period gave the Aztecs a 27-24 lead at halftime
"We decided we had to start executing on offense, and we ran more set stuff," Webster said.
Harris was the beneficiary, converting on 7-of-10 shots from the floor. She scored 13 points in the third period and had four three-point plays on the night. She was 11-of-12 from the free-throw line.
"We said we had an advantage inside and to be aggressive on the boards," Webster said. "We were determined."
Even with Harris having a huge offensive night, Corona del Sol was in it until the final 90 seconds. Senior Amy Rosenkrantz led the Aztecs with 19 points, hitting on 8-of-15 shots from the field. Her final basket with 2:33 left pulled Corona within 55-51.
A 7-0 Highland run to the finish — thanks to 7-of-8 shooting from the free-throw line — earned the Hawks a trip to Glendale Arena. Harris, Tarina Nixon and Amanda Vennard combined for the free-throw line damage.
"Our girls did a great job and fought hard all the way through," Corona del Sol coach Pat Reed said. "No. 20 (Harris) hit a lot of shots. We weren’t expecting her to come through, and that was big for them."
Nixon finished with 10 points and teammate Sarah Hays had seven points and 13 rebounds. Lisa Helmers had 14 points and Sy Janousek 12 for the Aztecs.