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Casey Lyons scored 13 points and helped Gabriel Richard earn its second-straight trip to the regional finals with a 54-39 win over Detroit Consortium on Tuesday at Bishop Foley. Photo by Dave Chapman.

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GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Richard returns to regional finals with win over Consortium (PHOTO)

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Last year, the Gabriel Richard girls’ basketball team picked up a dominating regional semifinal victory before eventually earning a regional championship and a trip to the Class C state quarterfinals.

On Tuesday, the Pioneers took their first step in repeating history with a 54-39 victory over Detroit Consortium in the Class C Regional 18 semifinals at Madison Heights Bishop Foley.

Richard slogged through a low-scoring first half with an 18-10 advantage at the intermission. The Pioneers led 11-2 after one quarter and held the Cougars to only two first half field goals.

The turnover bug bit both teams after the break, but Richard did a better job of taking advantage with transition points. Ashley Henderson (11 points) and Casey Lyons (seven points) turned steals into points throughout the quarter and helped the Pioneers carry a 40-24 lead heading into the fourth.

“From this stage on, every opponent is a quality opponent and I tell the girls that there’s gonna be moments where things don’t go as planned,” Gabriel Richard Coach William Jones said. “One of our big things is that if you make a mistake, you’ve got to make it up. You own it and you make it up.

“It’s fantastic that these kids can take that and they can own it and not dwell on it so much. They just go on to the next play. The ball keeps bouncing, the game keeps moving and the clock keeps running.”

Consortium would get as close as 12 points – 48-36 – with three minutes to go, but would get no closer down the stretch.

“I just told them that their response was great,” Jones said. “Early in the game, it was a lengthy, lengthy first quarter just the way it was drawing out like a knife.

“I was pleased with their response. 18-10 at the half. That’s fantastic defense, but an eight-point lead, when it’s that close, a couple threes can bring them right back into the game. Eight points is not a cushion at this stage. They responded to that challenge and they were able to come out with a lot more fire and a lot more intensity and I’m hoping that well doesn’t run dry anytime soon.”

Henderson was superb for the Pioneers with 21 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and five steals.

“She told the girls before the game ‘I don’t want this to be my last game,’” said Jones of his star senior. “It’s nice to get a double-double. It’s fantastic.”

“Surprised? No. It’s really the player she’s growing into.”

Lyons had 13 points and five rebounds and Kelly Henderson chipped in eight points and five boards.

Dominique Rockymore led Consortium with 14 points. Hope McGowan had nine points and six rebounds and Michia Clerk added eight points and six steals.

The Pioneers will face host Bishop Foley, who defeated Madison Heights Madison 53-39 in Monday’s late game, in the regional championship on Thursday at 7 pm.

Last Updated: 3/5/2013 9:38:33 PM EST