DECATUR – Defending Class 3A champion Concordia lost to Hamilton Heights 65-62 in the regional title game at Bellmont on Saturday.
The Cadets (18-7) got a 30-point, 12-rebound, four-assist effort from Courtney Smith but couldn’t repeat the feat of last season when they defeated Hamilton Heights in the regional semifinals.
It was the first regional title for No. 2 Hamilton Heights (22-2), which was led by Dakota Weatherford’s 25 points.
DeJour Young added 16 points for Concordia, and Olivia Hahn had 11.
In the first semifinal game, Concordia beat NorthWood 42-39 on a last-second three-pointer by Hahn.
The score was tied at 39 after NorthWood’s Morgan Olson hit a jumper with seven seconds left.
Hahn got the ball just a few feet beyond the three-point arc and put the ball in the air as the buzzer sounded.
The official signaled the shot was good, and the Concordia students poured onto the court to celebrate.
We thought it was going into overtime, so making a shot like that is a season-changing, mind-blowing play, Hahn said. I always practice those because I always tell my teammates they are going to come in handy one day.
Smith came up big in the fourth quarter and led the Cadets with 13 points. Young had 10 and Hahn added nine.
No. 3 NorthWood finished the season 22-4. The Panthers lost last year to the Cadets 53-40 in the regional finals.
In the second semifinal, Norwell lost to Hamilton Heights 60-58.
The Knights couldn’t get a shot off to tie or possibly win the game in the final few seconds.
We got into situations that weren’t good for us, Norwell coach Eric Thornton said. The kids battled, and they ought to feel good about not giving up, but you ought to be upset being in those situations, and we shouldn’t have been.
I give a lot of credit to Hamilton Heights; I thought they deserved to win, Thornton said. Taking nothing away from them. I just wished we didn’t have those moments where we were making unnecessary fouls or just not executing on either end of the floor. You point back to those points of the game, losing by two points and we were just one play away.
The No. 5 Knights (22-4) got 16 points from Paige Frisch and 10 from Taylor Wilson. Both players fouled out.
The Knights trailed 52-44 midway through the fourth before rallying and getting to within 59-58 in the final seconds.
Norwell led 16-5 in the first quarter before Hamilton Heights stepped up its defensive pressure and got back into the game.