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Girls State Basketball: Xavier Holds Off Lewis Central

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This game was televised live on KCRG 9.2, as every game of the 2013 girls state basketball tournament will be.

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Sarah Dickes wasn't being pushy. She was being a leader.

A winner.

So she called for the ball.

"I'm confident in my free throw shooting," Dickes said. "So in the huddle, we knew they were going to foul. I told them I wanted the ball."

Dickes hit four straight free throws in the final 19 seconds, and fifth-ranked Cedar Rapids Xavier held off No. 7 Lewis Central, 50-45, in a Class 4A quarterfinal at the girls' state basketball tournament Wednesday morning at Wells Fargo Arena.

Xavier (15-9) overcame 28 points from Aubrey Norville and a late Titans charge to advance to the semifinal round. The Saints will face No. 1 Sioux City Heelan (21-3) at 8:30 Thursday night.

Tickets are on sale from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Thursday at the school.

The Saints were cruising along with a 43-32 lead and less than 3 minutes remaining, but Lewis Central (20-4) scored seven points in a 45-second span, then got within 46-43 with less than a minute to go.

Lewis Central had the ball and a chance to tie, but was whistled for a 5-second call with 23 seconds left.

"I was trying to call timeout. I was screaming and running down the sideline, but they called the 5 seconds," said Titans Coach Derek Archer. "Sometimes it doesn't bounce your way, and this was one of those times."

After the call, Xavier called timeout and Dickes made her statement: Give me the ball.

"She asked for the ball and she made the shots," Saints Coach Tom Lilly said.

Dickes made two for a 48-43 lead with 19 seconds left, then two more with 4.9 ticks remaining to clinch it at 50-45.

Lewis Central led once all game, at 2-0. The Saints scored on their first four possessions, including six points from post Ashley Stulken, for an 8-5 advantage. It was 13-10 after a quarter, 21-17 at halftime.

"My teammates were able to get it to me on the high-lows, and I worked to get it in the basket," Stulken said.

The margin swelled to nine after three quarters and to 11 on two occasions in the fourth.

"We felt some pressure to hold the lead," Lilly said. "We stopped thinking about scoring too early."

The Saints drew the third and fourth fouls on Norville within 6 seconds midway through the third quarter, but never got the fifth. She stuck around and was a major pest, hitting 10 of 13 shots in her 28-point night.

But nobody else scored more than five, and Xavier's balance carried the day. Dickes scored 13 points, Stulken 12, Hayley Deutmeyer and Morgan Breitbach eight apiece.

Deutmeyer grabbed six rebounds.

The victory was Xavier's first at state since 2007, when it won the 3A state championship.

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