Sara Wilson and Nikki Brodowy scored back-to-back baskets to break a 49-49 fourth-quarter tie and spark Hart High to a 68-57 win over Fontana in the first round of the Division I state girls’ playoffs before a packed gym at Hart High on Tuesday.
The Indians, who had trailed by 15 points in the first quarter, used Wilson’s spinning jump shot with 7:15 to play to key a 10-0 run that put the Steelers away for good.
Hart outscored the visitors, 19-8 down the stretch. Fontana (27-3), the runner-up in the Southern Section 5-AA Division, was held to 12 points in the fourth quarter on five-of-14 shooting from the field.
The Indians’ comeback began a quarter earlier as Brodowy--who finished with a team-high 18 points--scored 10 in the third quarter to help pull Hart back into the game.
Brodowy opened the second half by hitting a 15-foot jump shot, a 12-foot shot from the baseline and a layup to cut Fontana’s lead to 39-36. But she wasn’t finished.
About two minutes later she dipped under a defender and made an eight-foot bank shot to trim the deficit to one point, 45-44.
With 1:51 to play in the third quarter, Wilson took a pass from Kim Posey and scored underneath to give Hart its first lead, 47-45. Hart led, 49-45, at the end of the period.
Hart Coach Pam Walker said that the home crowd played a key role in the Indians’ comeback.
“The crowd is the best thing about playing in a town like this,” Walker said. “We’ve been the only game in town for the last couple of weeks.”
However, the fans didn’t play much of a role early on.
Fontana center Danielle Carter, who averages a Southern Section-high 30 points a game, stunned the crowd by scoring 15 points in the first quarter as the Steelers built a 15 point lead and finished the quarter holding a 25-12 advantage. But as the Hart defense began to heat up, Carter cooled and scored just eight points in the final three quarters to finish with 23.
Hart caught fire at the beginning of the second quarter. Freshman Anjanette Dionne ignited the comeback with back-to-back three-point bombs that trimmed the deficit to 26-20.
“They told me to slow it down and be patient,” said Dionne, who finished with 13 points. “And if I was open I could hit it.”
The teams traded baskets the remainder of the quarter and Fontana took a 36-30 lead into halftime.