"The team is really excited. We're not done yet. We have a chance to win a district championship. But we know we're going to the region and the pressure's off. We can just come in and play."
"It feels great," senior Krystal Jackson said. "But we still have another game to play Friday, and we're not looking past that."
The Admirals (20-6), who will take on Casey County in the championship game Friday, almost didn't have the opportunity to look ahead as Boyle (7-21) nearly pulled the upset. Danville won both previous meetings, but the Rebels didn't go easily this time around.
Boyle shot a higher percentage than Danville and grabbed more rebounds, helping keep the Rebs close. Boyle grabbed a 42-39 lead with 1:22 to play in the third on a basket by Kate Edmiston, tying its largest lead of the game.
Danville answered with a 3-pointer from Jackson, and appeared to take the lead on a basket by Monica Vonderbrink with two seconds left in the third quarter.
However, Vonderbrink was called for travelling, and Schommer was whistled for a technical after arguing the call. Amber Mills hit one of two free throws to give Boyle a 43-42 lead after three quarters, but the Ads took the energy of their coach and turned it on Boyle to start the fourth.
Danville scored 10 of the first 12 points of the fourth quarter to take a 52-45 lead on a basket by Renee Chiu.
Rebels had one more answer left
The Rebels had one more answer left in them. C.C. Leffew made a steal and took it downcourt for a layup to cut the deficit to five points. Amber Mills and Allie Hafley each hit one of two free throws to get Boyle within 52-49. Vonderbrink hit two free throws to make it a four-point game with 36.7 seconds left.
After a missed shot by Boyle, Vonderbrink missed the front end of the bonus, but grabbed her own rebound with six seconds left. She hit both free throws to give Danville a 56-49 lead.
Michelle Yates' 3-pointer at the buzzer set the final margin.
Boyle coach Judie Mason said she was pleased with her team's effort throughout the whole game, but especially at the end. Fewer missed layups and turnovers in that final two minutes could have changed the game.
"Our problem was, our best defensive players can't finish on the other end. So we were getting steals, but we couldn't score," Mason said. "Sarah Hall came up with a huge steal, then traveled at the other end. But if it wasn't for her steal, we wouldn't have had the ball at all.
"We're not good ballhandlers. We're all right-handed. The good Lord gave us two hands, and next year we're going to learn to use them both."
Jackson used both hands and every bit of energy she had in her in the second half. After being held scoreless in the first quarter and totalling only five points at the half, the senior guard went on to score 13 of her game-high 18 points in the second half. She also had five rebounds and a blocked shot.
"I knew I wasn't playing too well (at halftime)," Jackson said. "I just had to push myself harder, play better defense and try to help the team win. We knew it wouldn't be easy, because this is the district and everybody comes to play."
Boyle hit 44 percent of it shots (20 of 45) and outrebounded Danville 31-25. Cassie Anderson led Boyle with 13 points and eight rebounds before fouling out early in the fourth quarter, while Ashley Chalk added 10 points and six rebounds.
Danville hit 18 of 51 attempts (35 percent). Vonderbrink had 12 points and a team-high seven rebounds.
"Everyone around us didn't think we could do it, but Danville had to play their best game to beat us," Mason said. "We were only 7-21, but I have had more fun coaching this group than I've had since I won the Class A state title. That's saying something, because I love to win. But they have handled everything I thew at them, not one of them quit, and that's how you build a program."