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Hawk girls hold off very physical York 38-34 in Elmhurst

In 1981, the Australian-born singer, Oliva Newton-John, had a No. 1 hit with her song, "Let's Get Physical".

The Aussie's No.1 hit, could have been the title of Wednesday night's nonconference girls high school basketball game between Maine South and York (14-5).

When visiting York High School a word to the wise to visiting girls hoops teams is as follows: bring shoulder pads and a couple of extra members of your training staff.

Forcing numerous fourth quarter turnovers with their lightning-quick defense, Maine South (14-5) opened up a double-digit lead with 6:09 left. Junior Nicole Gardinier's (seven points, six rebounds, four steals) steal and lay-up, gave the Hawks a seemingly insurmountable 35-24 lead.


"York is a very good, very physical, well-coached team," Maine South coach Jeff Hamann said. "We knew they were going to come at us with a tremendous physical run. They are so big and long. We knew they would come back."

Led by senior Sara Krissinger (17 points, nine rebounds, two blocks), the Dukes' attack pulled York to within 36-34 with 1:20 left.

Maine South junior point guard Niki Manolis (13 points, four 3's) stepped to the line for a crucial 1-and-1 with 1:17 left.

Manolis, who had missed the front end of two previous 1-and-1's, nailed the front end but missed the second, for a 37-34 Hawk lead.

York repeatedly misfired and Nicole Gardinier added a free throw with 1.9 seconds left for the very physical 38-34 Hawk win.

"We have three individual defensive sets that we are all very good at," Gardinier said. "We can switch anytime and that makes it very difficult for the opposing offense. I have been really struggled shooting the ball as of late. In the fourth quarter, I decided to go to the basket,"

Led by six first-quarter points from senior Greta Miller (10 points, three rebounds, three steals), the Hawks opened up a 9-6 first-quarter lead.

"York is a very good and physical team, so we expected a tough game tonight," Miller said. "I think one our strengths is our ability to communicate with each other on the court. I wanted the ball, tonight inside. I had success early and had a good game tonight."

Manolis buried a pair of long-range three pointers to give the Hawks a 16-14 lead with 1:40 remaining in the first half.

Hawk 6-foot sophomore Emily Pape (four points, 10 rebounds), scored her four points in the second quarter, to give the Hawks a 22-18 lead at the break.

The two squads resembled UFC fighters, in the third quarter, as the two squads, beat on each other and could only score nine points, in the quarter. The Hawks led to 26-23, at the end of three quarters.

Manolis hit from downtown Elmhurst for three to give the Hawks a 29-23 lead with 7:43 left. Gardiner hit a pair of free-throws for a 31-24 lead. Miller's bank-shot off the glass extended the Hawks lead to 33-24 with seven minutes left and was followed by Gardinier's steal and score for the seemingly insurmountable 35-24 Hawk lead.

"York is a very good, very physical team," Manolis said. "They are notorious for playing very hard. We were ready for them. One of our strengths is our outstanding team speed. It got close at the end but we refocused and pulled it out."

Maine South leading scorer, junior Niahm Gardiner, was shut out, but hauled down seven rebounds for the Hawks.

"With Niahm being shutout and Nicole only scoring seven points, the credit for this great win goes to all our other girls. Tonight showed how much talent that we have on this team. Niki, was outstanding for us running the offense and hitting the four 3's. Greta was great inside for us and made a pair of crucial defensive plays for us, late. Nicole Gardinier, when we needed her most in the fourth quarter, she came through for us."


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