SALEM — In a fourth quarter when the Teutopolis Wooden Shoes could seemingly do nothing wrong, the Nashville Hornettes refused to wilt on Monday at the Class 2A Salem Supersectional.
Junior Hannah Jung and sophomore Jordi Harre made big shots down the stretch to offset a furious Teutopolis rally as Nashville earned its eighth supersectional title in 13 years with a thrilling 43-36 win.
Leading 32-19 early in the fourth quarter, Nashville saw its lead cut to three points twice in the last minute, but Harre scored and senior Erica Brown made one free throw to help Nashville post the emotional win.
"We knew they'd make a run at us. We just knew it. It's Teutopolis and they love basketball, don't they?'' an ecstatic Nashville coach Wayne Harre said. "But I'll tell you what. Every time we needed a big play, somebody stepped up.
"We aren't a one-girl team and we showed that tonight."
With the win Nashville (31-2) advances to the Class 2A State Tournament semifinals on Friday at Redbird Arena in Normal. The Hornettes will take on Walther Lutheran, which defeated Seton Academy 57-47 to win the River Forest Supersectional on Monday.
The trip to the state finals will be the second in three years for Nashville, which placed fourth in 2011. Nashville is now 8-0 in supersectionals since 2001, all under Harre.
"I've been blessed with great assistant coaches and great players over the years,'' Harre said. "We didn't do anything this summer and we really were on them hard all season. They've focused and worked so hard and now they're going to the state tournament. Hopefully we'll be able to do something up there."
Jung gave Nashville the lead when she hit a 3-point shot in the opening minute of the game and Nashville never trailed. Playing its usual shutdown defense, the Hornettes led 7-3 after one quarter and 14-9 at halftime.
The lead grew to 12 points as senior Shaye Harre scored six of her points in the third quarter. But when T-Town's Cierra Thompson nailed a half-court shot to close the period, Nashville's lead was down to 28-19 and the Wooden Shoes were styling.
Shaye Harre gave Nashville a 32-19 lead early in the fourth quarter, but the Hornettes committed four turnovers in their next five possessions to spark the T-Town rally.
With junior Chelsey Hardiek scoring nine of her 12 points in the fourth quarter, the Wooden Shoes cut the lead to 34-29.
Jung then nailed her second 3-point shot of the night to increase the lead back to eight points, but a 3-point shot by Danielle Repking with 1:30 made the score 37-34.
Jordi Harre and Hardiek then exchanged baskets and following a missed 3-point shot by Repking, Brown made one of two free throws with under 20 seconds left to give Nashville a 40-36 lead.
Brown said she had confidence her team would weather the Wooden Shoes rally.
"I was a little nervous, but I have confidence in my teammates that we could make the plays," Brown said. "This is my third trip to the state tournament and being a senior, it means everything.''
Contact reporter Dean Criddle at 239-2661 or firstname.lastname@example.org