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Hornets hold off Liverpool, go to AA semis

Propelled by Zapisek and Jack Giles, the Hornets roared out to a 15-4 lead, then closed the first quarter with 10 points in 90 seconds to go ahead 27-14. But Liverpool adjusted and held F-M in check during the second period, making up most of the deficit.

Only ahead by three (33-30) at the break, the Hornets saw Liverpool tie the game twice. Both times, the Hornets regained the edge, Zapisek at one point reeling off six straight points on his way to 20 points and 12 rebounds for the night.

Giles returned in the fourth quarter, hitting back-to-back 3-pointers to build his total to 18 points, as F-M went ahead 57-49. But the Warriors' defense clamped down, holding the Hornets scoreless for four minutes, and tied it again, 57-57, setting up the final act.

O'Neill's big baskets down the stretch left him with 11 points, with Erik Mueller adding eight points. Gates, quiet in the first half, got 20 of his 21 points after the break to key Liverpool's comeback as Rogers came off the bench to earn 12 points. Cam Jones added 11 points.

F-M and Henninger just met, of course, in a Feb. 10 overtime classic where the Black Knights came from behind twice -- once in regulation, then again in OT -- to prevail 75-68 on the Hornets' home court.

Tough as that loss was, F-M left knowing that, with a little more work and a little more luck, it could beat Henninger again. Now, it will get that chance.

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