Harvest Christian to play for 1A sectional title

 
By Scott Miller
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 2/16/2016 10:48 PM

All season senior Paulina Castro and sophomore Alyssa Iverson have been like super heroes for the Harvest Christian girls basketball team.

However, with the Lions struggling in the first half of Tuesday's Class 1A sectional semifinal game against Walther Christian the dynamic backcourt duo needed a little help.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

They got plenty of it from freshman Jenn Kasper, who stepped in to help save the day with 16 clutch points as the Lions rallied from 8 points down in the first half to win 67-51 and advance to the sectional finals for the second straight year. Harvest will face Seton Academy on Thursday at Harvest.

Castro went on to finish with a game-high 30 points, including 19 in the second half, and Iverson chipped in 15 points. However, it was Kasper who may have had the play of the game when she converted a 4-point play after being fouled following a 3-point basket with 55 seconds left in the first half. Before the basket the Lions were struggling mightily and trailed 26-18. But the basket almost instantly turned the Lions' fortunes around.

"That was such a big play," Harvest coach Rich DeTamble said. "We really needed something to spark us at that point and my freshman came through big. She has shown a lot of potential and got off to a really great start this season but has struggled some since. But she has a really high basketball IQ and it was only a matter of time before started coming through again and she did when we really needed it tonight."

Kasper hit two more big 3-pointers in the third quarter and was also a perfect 7-of-7 from the free throw line in the game.

"Our seniors like Paulina have been so helpful all season," Kasper said. "They really help keep me in the game and encourage me if I am struggling. I was just thankful I was able to calm myself and hit some shots to help the team tonight."

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The game was still tied 34-34 midway through the third quarter when the Lions went on an 11-2 run to pull out to a 45-36 lead. Castro had 4 baskets all on drives into the lane during the run.

"We all knew we didn't play our best in the first half," Castro said. "But we also all knew we could turn it around. Jenn hit some big shots for us. We needed someone to step up and she did it. Then we started getting some solid defensive stops and that's what really got us going the rest of the way."

The Lions outscored Walther 22-12 in the fourth quarter to seal the win. Iverson had 7 of her points in the fourth and Rachel Oostdyk added 5.

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