FORT WAYNE – South Side and Snider earned a matchup in the girls SAC tournament finals with semifinal wins Thursday at Wayne.
Defending SAC tournament champion South Side held off a Bishop Luers’ rally in a 67-60 win, and Snider beat Concordia 64-45 in the second semifinal Thursday at Wayne.
Top-seeded South Side and No. 2 seed Snider will play for the SAC tournament championship at 6:15 p.m. Saturday.
The Archers (11-2) have been in the last seven SAC tournament title games, going 3-3 in the previous six.
That’s a big accomplishment, South Side coach Juanita Goodwell said. Neither on the boys side or the girls side has that happened. We have acknowledged it in our favor.
We are hungry, aggressive, and we go after it.
South Side led 39-22 early in the third quarter before Luers (5-8) started chipping away and pulled into a 57-point tie in the fourth.
But the Archers finished the game on a 10-3 run.
We had a comfortable lead, and we tried to put (bench players) in, and we didn’t hang on, Goodwell said. We just told the girls the momentum had just shifted, so we had to get it back in our favor. We had to fight to hang on.
Brittni Clopton led the Archers with 16 points, Ariana Simmons had 13 and DeJoyah Johnson 12.
We just had to keep our composure, Simmons said of losing the lead. It was a challenge. We just had to keep fighting.
South Side beat Bishop Luers 75-54 on Dec. 7.
For Luers, Tashala Surtoris scored a game-high 24 points.
South Side got the lead into double figures early in the second quarter and maintained that margin until the fourth but was never able to put any substantial distance from Luers.
The semifinal game was a rematch from last year’s SAC tourney title game, won by South Side 41-39.
In the second semifinal, the Panthers pulled away from the Cadets with a 27-2 run from midway in the third to midway in the fourth. The lead increased for Snider from 35-30 to 62-32.
Finally in the second half, we focused on our basketball, and we what we do best with the pressure and the full-court man, and it turned around for us, Snider coach Kelley Meiklejohn said. In the first half, we played their game, and they like to slow it down with fundamentally sound basketball. In the second half, we pushed the ball and got done what we needed to get done.
Snider returns to the title game after having won the 2010 championship with a 64-59 win over South Side.
It was one of our goals to win the SAC tournament, Meiklejohn said. There’s some mystery to South Side, and it’s another game that we will prepare for. Hopefully we can execute and get the job done.
Deja Wimby led Snider (10-1) with 22 points, and Meredith Shipman added 16.
Concordia (9-3) got 15 points from Courtney Smith and Dejour Young. The defending Class 3A state champion Cadets played without two key players in Jackie Dixie and Taylor Sparks because of injuries.
Meiklejohn began her coaching career as an assistant under veteran Cadets coach Dave Miller.
The SAC tournament is sponsored by SportONE.
South Side 67, Luers 60
Snider 64, Concordia 45 Saturday
South Side vs. Snider, 6:15 p.m.