With exactly one minute to play and down by a point, Rose Hill's strategy was to foul the freshman.
Wrong move — or at least wrong freshman.
Wellington freshman Savannah Cornejo sank 5 of 6 free throws down the stretch, and the Crusaders held on for a 48-45 victory Thursday night at the Maize South sub-state.
Cornejo shrugged off the pressure.
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"I just tried to pump up my team as much as I could," she said.
Wellington will face top-seeded Circle in Saturday's girls final with a state tournament berth at stake. The teams split home victories during AV-CTL Division IV play.
Cornejo hit two free throws with one minute left, one of two with 52.9 seconds left, and two more with 43.9 to play.
"Savannah's had two really good practices; we've been trying to bring her along slow — she's a freshman — but she came to play tonight," coach Kevin Hackerott said. "When you get into the playoffs, someone's got to do that; someone's got to step up besides your regular kids."
The third-seeded Crusaders (13-8), who start one senior, sank 12 of 18 free throws in the final period, and maintained their poise in the face of a 23-point effort by Rose Hill senior Whitney Bates.
Bates had to handle much of the scoring, because many of the Rockets (14-7) struggled with foul trouble. Fouls kept Rose Hill's leading scorer, Kelsey Webber, from getting into a rhythm, and she fouled out with 2:35 to play.
Sophomore Dani Anderson scored 14 points, and senior Sarah Amrein scored eight of her 10 points after halftime.
"I thought she impacted the game with some of the steals she made," Hackerott said of Amrein. "She's a tough kid, and she got it done."
Wellington (13-8) 13 7 10 18 — 48 Rose Hill (14-7) 12 13 4 16 —45
WELLINGTON: Whaley 8, Amrein 10, Adams 2, Anderson 14, Cornejo 6, Wiley 2, Leatherwood 6. Totals 14 (2) 18-26 48.
ROSE HILL: Burnett 9, Bates 23, Webber 5, Rash 2, Lucas 2, Bonar 4. Totals 15 (4) 11-19 45.
Circle girls 50, Mulvane 46 — The top-seeded Thunderbirds (17-4) used a balanced attack to hold off the scrappy Wildcats (10-11).
Six players scored for Circle in the pivotal fourth quarter. Kyrstie Ehm's short shot in the lane with 5:46 left gave Circle the lead for good, and her two free throws with 1:45 to play built a 48-44 lead.
Mulvane outscored Circle 17-10 in the second quarter and trailed just 24-22 at the half.
"It's going to be a battle. Both (earlier) games were close games throughout," Circle coach Brian Henry said. "We know that they're three-point shooters and they're going to penetrate and kick. We just have to take care of the ball and close out on the shooters."
Mulvane (10-11) 5 17 14 10 — 46 Circle (17-4) 14 10 12 14 — 50
MULVANE: Bell 2, Miller 16, Locke 3, Bish 9, Wilson 6, Parsons 6, Gosch 1, Morton 2. Totals 19 (1) 7-11 46.
CIRCLE: Hon 6, Ehm 15, Burden 10, Couey 3, Richard 4, Flaming 8, Barrett 4. Totals 20 10-22 50.