CHRISMAN — Senior Alexis Rangel knew when fellow senior Sarah Daily fouled out in the third quarter that she had to pick up her game.
Coming off the bench for the Schlarman Academy Hilltoppers, Rangel scored four points and pulled down three rebounds as Schlarman upset Shiloh 37-34 in a semifinal game of the IHSA Class 1A Chrisman Regional on Roger Beals Court.
“Sarah is also a senior, and it was kind of sad to see her foul out,’’ Rangel said. “I knew I had to step up and I knew I had to fill in for Sarah.’’
Rangel was committed to not let Tuesday’s contest be the final one for her and Daily.
Twice in the final eight minutes, Rangel slipped through the Shiloh defense for a pair of wide-open baskets on in-bound plays under the Schlarman basket.
“I don’t normally score a whole lot, but every now and then, I get a burst of points,’’ she said. “I was proud of myself for helping the team out in that situation.’’
According to Rangel, the toughest part wasn’t making the baskets.
“I usually have a hard time catching the ball,’’ she added. “I just did whatever I could do to help the team.’’
It was just the type of play the Hilltoppers needed in the fourth quarter as they were 5-of-25 from the field in the second half.
“Alexis is one of those unsung heroes,’’ Schlarman coach Keith People said. “She hasn’t had several opportunities, but when she gets in, she’s productive. Her offensive efficiency is positive.
“I also give credit to Sierra (Bell) for finding her on those plays.’’
Bell, a sophomore, finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds and five assists as the Hilltoppers (19-8) will be seeking their second consecutive regional title on Thursday night when Schlarman faces the Cissna Park Timberwolves in a 7 p.m. game at Chrisman.
“I think the team that wins the regional championship will be the one that imposes their will and remains poised when the game is real tight,’’ Peoples said.
And on Tuesday night, the team that was able to do that was Schlarman, as Shiloh (24-4) and rated No. 4 in the latest Associated Press Class 1A poll, struggled with its shooting from both the field (13-of-56) and from the free-throw line (5-of-17).
“I think a lot of it had to do with the moment,’’ said Peoples, whose team made just 4-of-12 at the foul line. “My focus was to ensure my team that tonight’s game was no different than any other game.
“I think both teams were a little too tight. That’s why you saw a poor percentage at the free-throw line.’’
Some of the credit for the poor shooting should also go to each team’s defense.
Schlarman with the combination of Rangel, Daily and Shelby Mascari did a good job of containing Shiloh’s 6-foot-1 senior center Lauren Moses, who had just nine points on 3-of-12 shooting from the field. Moses did pull down a game-high 14 rebounds for the Raiders.
“As long as we kept her under control, we felt that we would do well in this game,’’ Rangel said. “It was really hard because she is a very good player and her height gave us some problems.
“Basically, I just tried to stay straight up against her, anything else was going to be a foul.’’
Peoples admitted that Schlarman had to change its defense in the fourth quarter against Moses.
“She is a phenomenal player down low,’’ he said. “We went with a box-and-one on her with Shelbi trying to keep her from getting the ball.
“Keeping her out of double-digits was definitely a key to the victory.’’
The Hilltoppers, who never trailed in the regional semifinal contest, led by as much as eight (21-13) in the first half and the Raiders got within one possession on three different occasions.
Shiloh had two chances in the final 10 seconds at tying the game, but Jessica Hunt and Brittany McGinness, who had a team-high 11 points, both missed 3-pointers.
“I told the kids before the game, regardless of the score, this team will not back down,’’ Peoples said. “They will fight. They are known for fighting and they are know for competitive basketball. We have to play the game with full effort.’’
Bell and senior Janelle Marion both finished with double-doubles on Tuesday night. Bell had 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Marion had 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Hilltoppers.