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March 11, 2014

University Liggett beats Blissfield in state quarterfinal

Knights set to play St. Ignace LaSalle in semifinals

By Thomas Franz
C & G Sports Writer

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Liggett celebrates following its state quarterfinal victory

Lola Ristovski scored 21 points to lead University Liggett to a 50-47 victory against unbeaten Blissfield High in a Class C state quarterfinal Tuesday night.

Down 40-35 with two minutes into the fourth quarter, the Knights went on an 11-2 run to give themselves a 46-42 advantage going into the closing moments of the game.

Blissfield cut the lead to one, but Ristovski sank two free throws with 23.5 seconds left to give Liggett a 48-45 lead. Blissfield's Madison Jerome made a layup with 13 seconds.

Liggett sophomore Kendall McConico then made two free throws to give the Knights a three-point lead with 10.6 seconds left, but Blissfield was unable to score on its last possesion.

McConico said she wasn't just thinking about winning the game while taking her last two free throws.

"Shooting the free throws, I knew that if I missed, I would be the least favorite person in the school because we wanted a half day on Thursday, and missing those and losing would be absolutely terrible. So I knew I had to make them, not just for the tea, ,but for the school," McConico said.

Claire Denecker led Blissfield with 15 points and 17 rebounds. Freshman Kelsey Wyman added 10 points for the Royals, who close their season with a 21-1 record.

For Liggett, McConico added 10 points and freshman Nia Ahart scored eight. As a team, Liggett shot 17-17 from the free-throw line.

"We really haven't been challenged all year, and we were worried about that going into the game, but Lola (Ristovski) has been there before, so she wanted to put the team on her back, and she did," Liggett coach Omar Ahart said.

Liggett (20-3) advances to play St. Ignace LaSalle in a Class C state semifinal at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 13 at 2:50 p.m.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Thomas Franz at tfranz@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1040.