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SUNRISE REGION: Harless powers Foothill into semifinals

Home-court advantage always is important in basketball, but it means something extra to Foothill High’s Cheryl Harless.

The senior forward got an extra hour of warmup time Wednesday, and it paid off as she logged 19 points and eight rebounds to lift the Falcons past Las Vegas 62-58 in the Sunrise Region girls quarterfinals.

The win lifted Foothill into the semifinals, where it will host Valley at 3 p.m. today.

“Cheryl was huge for us tonight,” Foothill coach Mike Collins said. “People don’t know this about her, but she really needs a half to get going, and that’s after an hour and a half of warmup time.”

Harless, who was held to six points in the first half, exploded for nine key points in the fourth quarter before fouling out with 29.5 seconds left.

“I was thinking, ‘We’re not going to lose this game,’ ” Harless said. “This is my senior year, so I wanted to turn it on and lead the team to victory.”

Neither team led by more than six points, but Las Vegas (15-14) controlled most of the first half. Matti Ventling nailed a 4-foot jumper with 59 seconds left in the second quarter, and the Wildcats took a 24-22 lead into halftime.

Though Las Vegas guard Shomari Harris scored 21 of her 28 points in the second half, the Falcons (16-10) came out with a stronger defense in the third quarter. They finally went ahead 28-27 on 15-foot baseline jumper by Christina Nash and began pulling away with a 7-1 run early in the fourth.

Foothill held a 49-29 rebounding edge, and Harless’ timely rebounds in the fourth helped the Falcons maintain their lead.

“I thought our rebounding was a key,” Collins said. “We didn’t give them a lot of second shots.”

Harris scored 13 points in the fourth, but Foothill made 7 of 11 free throws in the final minute.

Nash scored 14 of her 19 points in the second half.

Ventling and Daresheoun Lee each scored nine points for the Wildcats.

Canyon Springs 61, Green Valley 59 — At Canyon Springs, Kenosha Wright had 12 points and 16 rebounds, and Cherise Beynon added 13 points and 11 boards as the Pioneers rallied to defeat the Gators.

Canyon Springs (15-7) trailed 42-36 entering the fourth quarter, but Pearl Paulo and Beynon hit consecutive 3-pointers midway through the final period to key the rally.

The Pioneers also went 11-for-16 from the foul line in the fourth quarter.

Faith Harper had 12 points and Bianca Johnson eight points and 14 rebounds for Canyon Springs, which faces Liberty in the semifinals at 6:20 p.m. today at Foothill.

Shavon Stevens paced Green Valley (14-9) with 15 points. Maggie Manwarren added 13 points and Mackenzie Butler 12 for the Gators.

Valley 50, Coronado 37 — At Valley, Estelle Wilson had 13 points, 10 rebounds and six steals to help the Vikings (23-5) top the Cougars (16-13).

Christina Davis added 12 points, and Shayna Porter had seven assists and five steals for Valley.

Porter also defended Coronado’s leading scorer, Sofie Cruz, and held her scoreless.

Nicole Ruffino led the Cougars with 15 points, and teammate Caitlyn Trost scored 13.

Liberty 62, Rancho 28 — At Liberty, the Patriots bolted to a 24-4 first-quarter lead and rolled past the Rams (12-15).

Destiny Whitehead led Liberty (24-2) with 16 points, including eight in the first quarter.

Alena Evans added 10 points and nine rebounds for the Patriots. Jade Washington had nine points and nine assists, and Chanel Nacua had eight points, 13 rebounds, three steals and three assists for Liberty.

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