CLARKSVILLE, Ind. — Eastern Pekin’s Veronica Judson picked the perfect time to have the game of her life.
Judson, who rarely scores, didn’t miss a shot in the second half and scored 15 points to ignite the Musketeers (19-7) past No. 4 Providence (20-6) 44-34 in the championship game of the Class 2-A Providence Sectional Saturday night.
In the second half, Judson hit three 3-pointers, two other field goals and added two free throws. She finished with a game-high 17 points.
“I can’t say enough about Veronica Judson and the lift she gave us,” said Eastern coach Mike McBride. “That was totally unexpected. She is not one who’s been a major scorer for us. She got going and we needed it. … As hard as she’s worked, she deserves that.”
Eastern’s Rachel Stewart, said she knew Judson had a game-changing effort in her.
“I knew she was going to step sometime this year,” Stewart said. “This was a good time to do it.”
Just as they did in Friday night’s semifinal win over Paoli, the Musketeers had to overcome a slow start.
This time, Rachel Stewart — Eastern’s best offensive player — picked up two fouls just 2:16 into the game. After picking up the second personal, Stewart went to the bench for rest of the first quarter. With Stewart out, Eastern fell behind 14-4 after Providence’s Cheyenne Brooks hit a layup with 5:26 left in the first half. McBride inserted Stewart back into the game.
“It was a risk,” he said. “We tried to hide her defensively. We told them we might have to go to a zone. … It was a situation where we had to get her back onto the floor to try and calm things and take pressure off the others.”
Despite Eastern’s foul issue, the Musketeers only trailed 19-13 at the half.
“At halftime, I told them that somebody else is going to have to step up,” McBride said. “I knew they were going to double team Rachel (Stewart) and Taylor (Drury).”
Judson was listening. Stewart, a junior, added 15 points for Eastern.
“I just wanted to be the person to keep us from losing,” Judson said. “It feels amazing. It’s unbelievable. I was on fire, I guess.”
The Pioneers (20-6), though, grabbed a 34-33 lead with 4:04 left as Hannah Wolford knocked down a 3-pointer, capping a 7-0 run for the Pioneers. Providence, however, didn’t score again.
Claire Rauck, who will play at Goshen College, finished a stellar career at Providence with 11 points. Wolford, a junior, added 10. The Musketeers will advance to Saturday’s Paoli Regional.
North Harrison nabs Sectional 30 title
As expected, North Harrison girls basketball cruised to its second consecutive sectional championship on Saturday night.
The top-ranked Cats led by six after the first quarter and outscored the Pirates (15-11) 53-20 the rest of the way for a 71-32 win. The defending Class 3-A state runner-up, North Harrison improved to 24-2 with the victory. The team is 52-5 in the past two seasons.
North Harrison advances to meet the winner of the Rushville Consolidated sectional in regional semifinal play next Saturday at Charlestown. The winner of that game advances to the regional final versus the Gibson Southern or Vincennes Lincoln winner.
In Class 4-A, No. 9 Bedford North Lawrence (20-4) pulled away from Jennings County (11-15) for a 45-29 win in the Sectional 15 final at Floyd Central. It’s the Stars’ sixth consecutive sectional championship and 26th all-time, which ranks second in the state.
Class 2-A Sectional 46 at Providence
EASTERN 44, PROVIDENCE 34
Eastern Pekin (19-7)
Veronica Judson 17p; Taylor Drury 6p; Holly Purlee 4p; Rachel Stewart 15p; Savannah Emmert 2p.
Cheyenne Brooks 4p; Olivia Jenkins 7p; Hannah Wolford 10p; Claire Rauck 11p; Mia Fougerousse 2p.