Special players step up when it matters the most — and Sydney Parrish is a special player.

The Hamilton Southeastern sophomore scored a game-high 31 points Friday night in a 60-35 win over Fishers in the Class 4A Sectional 8 semifinals at Fishers.

“I thought we played pretty good baseball for three quarters,” said Fishers head coach Lauren Vail. “Then in the fourth quarter, I don’t know if we ran out of steam … I was proud of our kids. They fought, and that’s all I can ask of them.”

After a tightly contested first half, which saw the Southeastern take a 26-21 lead into the locker room, the Royals started to pull away in the third. Parrish, who scored 12 in the first half, began to take control of the game on both sides of the ball. Halfway through the third, Parrish was up to 20 points and helped stretch the Royals lead from a bucket to 38-28 by the end of the quarter.

Vail thought Parrish’s explosion impacted the Tigers, in that their offensive execution was rushed down the stretch.

“I think our kids felt like they needed to get it all back at once,” she said. “When you’re not hitting shots, that kind of compounds itself.”

Not only did Southeastern have its best player going, but the Royals were able to shut down Fishers’ leading scorer Toni Grace by giving the senior guard multiple looks on the defensive end.

“Toni Grace is a great player, and we knew if we were going to have an opportunity to win tonight, we had to take care of her,” said Southeastern head coach Chris Huppenthal. “I thought, for the most part, our team defense was outstanding.”

Grace, who average a team-high 15.2 points for Fishers during the season, was held to just six points on 0-of-10 from the field. “We could just never get in a rhythm,” Vail said. “I think that took Toni out of her game a little bit.”

Sophomore Tamia Perryman picked up some of the offensive slack, scoring a team-high nine, but it wasn’t enough to match Parrish’s night.Senior Ali Gerka finished second on the Tigers in points with eight.

Southeastern led 42-31 a couple minutes into the fourth and closed the game on a 18-4 spurt. During one point of the run, Parrish scored seven straight.

“It’s unfortunate it has to end this way, but Hamilton Southeastern did a great job tonight,” Vail said. “They came out — they were ready to play — and they did what they do.”

Juniors Malea Jackson and Amaya Hamilton both chipped in seven points for Southeastern.

Fishers ends its season at 13-12 and drew praise from its first-year head coach. “I’m just so proud of our kids,” Vail said. “Getting a new head coach a month before the season starts … we kind of did this together and learned and grew. Every time I challenged them with something, they responded.”

Southeastern (16-7) advances to the tourney’s championship game and will face Carmel (23-2) Saturday at 7 p.m.

Carmel defeated Noblesville 50-45 in the bracket’s second semifinal battle of the night. The Greyhounds beat the Royals 58-44 back on Nov. 24 at Southeastern. Parrish was held to just nine points in the Royals loss.

“You watch (Carmel) — they’ve got Division I kids at every position on the floor,” Huppenthal said. “We’re going to come ready to play and give it our best shot. They’ve got a great team, but I think we’ve got a pretty special team, too.”