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Evanston rolls past Hawks 65-51 in Class 4A Maine West Sectional semifinal; Concludes outstanding 2019-20 campaign for Hawks

In the long and ultra-successful 48 years of Maine South girls' basketball the 2019-20 Hawks were very special.

The 26-win campaign ties them for sixth-place with most wins a season. The 26-7 final record put this seasons' Hawks as compiling the eighth best winning-percentage in Maine South girls' basketball history.

The 2019-20 Hawks set school-records in three-pointers made assists and rebounds. All of this was accomplished by a very young team.

On Monday night in their IHSA Class 4A Maine West Sectional semifinal versus Evanston (24-6), the Hawks were hoping the old adage 'the third time will be the charm' would come to fruition.

Back on December 20, in historic Beardsley Gymnasium in Evanston, the Hawks fell 54-52.

Tonight in Des Plaines for the first 11 minutes of the game the old adage the Hawks were hoping for was coming to fruition.

Behind sophomore Emily Pape (11 points, 11 rebounds, three steals) and junior Nicole Gardiner (nine points, nine rebounds, two 3s), the Hawks raced out to a 15-8 first-quarter lead.

With 5:23 left in the third quarter Hawk sophomore Caroline Barker (nine points, four steals) scored to put Maine South up 19-12.

In the last five minutes of the first half, the Wildkits, would turn the Hawks over seven times and close out the half on a 16-0 run, for a 28-19 lead at the break. Willdkit senior, Kayla Henning, would score 10 of her game-high 18 points, in the 16-0 Evanston run.

Evanston, would open up a 52-33 lead after three quarters and coast to the 65-51 win.The Wildkits, will meet the sectional hosts and the defending, IHSA Class 4A State Champions from Maine West (29-3), for the Class 4A Maine West Sectional Championship at 7, on Thursday night.

The Hawks will say good-bye to their six seniors, starters Greta Miller and Elisabeth Strotman and Abby Ciprian, Amelia Strotman,Michaela Kons and Allison Bowler.

"We will dearly miss our six seniors," Maine South coach Jeff Hamann said. "Greta, Elisabeth, Abby, Amelia, Michaela and Allison, all worked for four years year-round to make our program better."

Led by the Gardiner sisters, Niamh and Nicole and their scrappy 5-foot-3 point-guard Niki Manolis, the Hawks should be very good in 2020-21. Add to the that trio, a pair of sophomores who starred for the Hawks this year in Pape and Barker.

In the third quarter with Evanston leading by 18 points, the Hawks sophomore duo took over the game.

Pape hauled down eight rebounds in the quarter and Barker scored seven points and had three steals in a two-minute stretch to get the Hawks within 11 points.

"We all had worked so hard to get here that I just felt I had to go all out to help us get back into the game," Barker said. "We won 26 game this year and a number of us our returning. We are going to work very hard and get back here and win this game next year."

"Caroline and I just played with great energy in the third quarter," Pape said. "We had a great season but it hurts so much to realize that it has come to an end."

"We are very excited about next season with what we have returning," Hamann added. "From one season to the next, one never knows what's going to happen. If everything goes our way, we will be very good, in 2020-21."


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