Foul trouble hit early, and it hit hard, but it never shook Lomega head coach Kevin Lewallen or his team.
Fighting through behind 25 points from Taylor Mendell, second-ranked Lomega defeated Balko 65-46 Friday afternoon in the semifinals of the Class B girls state basketball tournament at State Fair Arena.
Mendell made three 3-pointers in the game had 11 points in the third quarter, when Lomega built an 18-point lead.
“Taylor has struggled offensively the last three weeks, but she's been our second-leading scorer the last two years,” Lewallen said. “You knew it was just time. Luckily, she picked the right time to do it. She had a big game today.”
The foul problems never got the Raiders out of rhythm, which Lewallen partially credited to the play of his bench.
“We've got seven players who play a lot,” he said. “I thought Beca Drake and Amber Clayton came off the bench and played really hard, didn't do anything bad to hurt us. When Balko made their run in the second quarter, I thought those two helped us sustain that, keep our lead.”
Kylie Turner made three 3-pointers and finished with 18 points for the Raiders, who will face Hammon at 7 p.m. in Saturday's championship game in search of their 10th state championship.