No. 1 Hamilton overcomes early deficit to Gilbert, advances to Open Division Final Four

February 22, 2024 by Ben Stapley, AZPreps365

Hamilton's Reanna Farrington looks to inbound to a teammate in the second half of the Huskies quarterfinal matchup against Gilbert. Photo by Ben Stapley

According to Hamilton senior Savanna Creal, there was never any panic.

Even with 2:34 left in the first quarter and Gilbert busting out to a 16-4 lead, Creal insisted there was never a sense of desperation from the Huskies. And the way Hamilton worked its way back into the game and controlled the final three quarters, there's no reason to doubt the Huskies mettle, as they worked their way back into the game before eventually defeating Gilbert, 55-43 in an Open Division quarterfinal contest at Hamilton Thursday night.

Creal led Hamilton with 17 points and C.J. Hinder scored eight of her 12 points in the scond quarter during a key stretch which saw the Huskies fight their way back from a 12 point deficit to a two-point lead at halftime. Reanna Farrington added 11 points.

Hamilton (23-5) will square off with No. 4 Desert Vista in a semifinal contest at Mountain Pointe next Tuesday night. Desert Vista, the defending Open Division Champions, beat No. 5 Seton Catholic 67-24 in their qurterfinal game.

"I never sensed panic from anyone on our team," Creal said of Gilbert's big first quarter. "I really felt we would be able to lean on eachother and keep building eachother up throughout the game."

For the final three quarters that's exactly what Hamilton did.

Gilbert's early surge was catalyzed by Morgan Evenson (12 points), who knocked down a trio of three-point baskets in the first five minutes of the game. trailing 16-6 to start the second quarter, the Huskies started working their way back in the game. C.J. Hinder, a sophomore center was key in the second quarter, pulling down four rebounds and getting buckets around the rim. When freshman Izzy Anderson hit a jumper to end the second quarter, it gave Hamilton a 25-23 going into halftime.


The Huskies built their lead to 39-31 by the end of the third quarter, as five different players scored while clamping down defensively. Gilbert freshman Caia Campbell was the only player to score in the third quarter for the Tigers. Campbell led Gilbert with 17 points, but the Tigers never got closer than seven points in the fourth quarter.

"We had a really good week of practice," Creal also mentioned. "We simulated alot of game type situations and it really helped us with our execution."

Gilbert finished its season 24-5. The Tigers losses all came against top four Open seeds.