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J-D girls hoops breaks through with regional title

Red Rams advance to state Class A final four in Troy

— The Rams responded loud and clear against the Warriors, matching AP's physical play and rewarded with 30 free throws in the game. And while it made just 60 percent of those attempts, the volume helped lessen the struggle.

Robens spearheaded the charge towards accepting contact, rebounding ferociously, fighting down low and getting to the charity stripe 12 times by game's end.

And when J-D’s offense was sputtering in the second half, Robens took the wheel. She scored the first seven points of the third quarter and the first six points of the final frame, jump-starting the offense and maintaining the Rams' lead on her own.

Every time a big play was needed down the stretch, the Rams made it, whether it was eighth-grader Meg Hair taking a charge with a minute left and J-D clinging to a 51-49 lead, or Maddy Frank sinking a crucial basket with 26.2 seconds to play to stretch the margin to 55-50, ultimately out AP’s reach.

Robens finished with 21 points, followed by 14 points from Carly O’Hern. Frank had nine points and Hair contributed eight points. The Warriors got 11 points from Kelly Donnelly, nine points from Lauren Van Roy and eight points apiece from Rachel Apfel and Caitlin O’Shea.

A night before J-D punched its ticket to Troy, J-D had to take on Franklin Academy in the opening regional round, and had to fight hard in this game, too, in order to earn a 50-44 victory over the Huskies.

The game started slow for the Red Rams, as Franklin put out a forceful unit and jumped ahead 11-10 after one quarter. J-D continued to trail until late in the second quarter, when it rallied from down three points to up eight points going into halftime.

In the second half, that lead nearly evaporated. In what would become a trend over the weekend, J-D came out slow in the third quarter, managing an uncharacteristic five points in the frame, but it held Franklin to single digits as well, allowing them to take a lead into the fourth quarter still ahead, 32-28.

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