GRANVILLE — Talk about your double trouble.
Annawan got 29 points each from senior center Celina VanHyfte and senior guard Cierra Davis to power its way past host Putnam County to capture the Granville 1A sectional championship at R.M. Germano Gymnasium Thursday night.
The Bravettes’ duo accounted for 26 of their team’s 28 points in the first quarter, staking Annawan to a 28-11 lead.
Annawan took a 45-16 halftime lead, and while Putnam County outscored the Bravettes 13-6 to open the third quarter to trim their deficit to 22, the outcome was never in doubt.
“First half they came out to play and we just didn’t. We can make tons of excuses on why we didn’t, but we didn’t. And that’s all it boils down to,” Putnam County coach James Barnett said. “They’re No.1 for a reason. It’s not a fluke. They’ve been No. 1 since the last day of last year and I don’t foresee it changing any time soon. That’s a tremendous team they’ve got there.”
With their third straight sectional championship, Annawan (27-4) advances to the Bloomington Super-Sectional to face Cissna Park, a 46-43 winner over host Gilman Iroquois West. Game time is 7 p.m. Monday at the Shirk Center on the campus of Illinois Wesleyan University.
“We just hope to keep it going,” said Annawan coach Jason Burkiewicz, a Spring Valley native and Hall High School graduate
“We’re definitely excited to get this trophy. We know we have to work hard Monday to get back to state,” said senior guard Megan Foes, a Mineral product.
“We’re extremely thankful and happy we’re able to share this great experience, and we can’t wait,” Cierra Davis said.
VanHyfte hit her team’s first two buckets of the game from the inside. Then Davis hit two straight beyond the 3-point arc and would hit four treys before the quarter was finished. Davis lived up to the challenge Burkiewicz gave her at practice Wednesday.
“Coach gave me a challenge to shoot the best I can in the postseason, and I think I stepped up to the challenge. I’m excited he gave me that challenge,” Davis said.
“I was kind of smiling. I told her in practice yesterday, ‘You’re too darn good, you need to start hitting every 3 that you shoot.’ She comes out and starts this game and hits every one,” Burkiewicz said. “When Celina draws that much attention down low, we’re going to have our shooters open, and she took advantage tonight.
“They came out strong. It’s good to have someone inside and outside, because they don’t know where to go on defense,” Foes said.
Barnett said Davis didn’t show up on the PC radar.
“We’ve been unsure of what Davis can do, so we were just going to play her straight up. Then she hit her first two shots, and we never made the adjustment. We should have known from there ... if anybody hits their first two, they’re probably going to keep going. You’ve got to get out on them,” he said.
The proud Lady Panthers showed some life to start the second half. Senior Carly Gonet hit back-to-back 3s and Daniela Pavlovich added another to make it 49-27. PC maintained a 22-point deficit when Gonet hit 1 of 2 free throws with 2:18 left in the third quarter, but got no closer.
“I was very brunt with the girls, this is your last 16 minutes. They’re all thinking it, let’s just say it. And they finally relaxed, moved the ball, hit some shots and played some basketball. I was proud of the way they played in the second half,” Barnett said.
PC was led by Gonet with 14 points, Pavlovich with 12 and Allison Voss with 11.