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Published: Friday, 3/19/2010

Craft carries Liberty-Benton girls to title game


COLUMBUS - Caite Craft led a balanced Liberty-Benton attack with 23 points as the Eagles defeated Smithville 56-34 in a Division III semifinal yesterday at the Ohio girls basketball tournament.

Craft hit six of nine

3-pointers as Liberty-Benton (26-0) made seven from beyond the arc to give it 229 for the season, more than any other girls team in the state.

Amanda Hyde, an Associated Press first team All-Ohio selection, had 19 points and Amber Peterson added 11 for the Eagles, who play Middletown Madison (27-0) for the title tomorrow. Neither school has won a championship.

Jenna Pew, also a first-team selection, led Smithville (25-2) with 18 points, two below her average.

Hyde and Craft were too much for Pew to overcome in a freewheeling first half. They had 13 points apiece to counter Pew's 10 as the Eagles took a 31-20 lead.

Craft was three of four from 3-point range and Liberty Benton four of 13 from beyond the arc through two quarters. Smithville made two of six 3-pointers but was done in by nine turnovers compared to four for Liberty-Benton.

The Eagles kept firing after halftime and increased the score to 42-23 heading into the fourth quarter. Smithville made one of five field-goal attempts and had seven turnovers in the third.

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