LAPEL - Coming into Saturday's regional semifinal the Blackhawks had one mission on defense. That was to limit the touches by Fountain Central's primary scorer Macee Williams.

With less than eight seconds left to go in the game, the Mustangs went the full length of the court and everyone knew who the ball was going to.

They dribbled the ball into the corner, pitched the ball to Williams who fought through a double team and banked it in at the buzzer to give the Mustangs a 57-55 win.

That was pretty much the offense for the Mustangs the entire game.

"We knew she was going to be a handful," head coach Jeff Guenther said. "I didn't do a good job really late communicating what we were doing defensively, and when we stayed in our press and fouled that should not have happened."

Every time one the Mustang's tenacious guards dribbled the ball along the 3-point line they were looking for the sophomore forward.

The guard would make the pass to Williams. She'd make one move and then take it straight up for an easy bucket.

Even when the Blackhawk defenders had good position on her, the Mustangs would lob the ball up over their heads and Williams would come down with it for a layup.

It didn't matter what the Blackhawks did defensively, they had no answer for the much bigger Williams.

"We tried plan A and it wasn't effective," said Guenther. "We went to plan B and that didn't work, so we went to plan C."

However, they did find a way to limit her touches long enough for the Blackhawks to gain some momentum.

The Blackhawks drove the ball to the rack when the opportunity presented itself and the last line of defense for the Mustangs was Williams, who was stationed in the middle of the key and was able to draw the foul.

Midway through the second quarter Williams was forced to sit on the bench with two fouls. The Blackhawks took advantage and worked the lane on offense more often. They also were freed up on defense and that forced the Mustangs to commit some careless turnovers.

Yet, the Mustangs were able to stick around thanks to the play of their guards and their other star sophomore Maggie Fishero, who scored 10 points.

With the Blackhawks up by two at the halftime break and with Williams out, it was clear that keeping her on the bench was the only way the Blackhawks were going to survive.

At the start of the third quarter the Blackhawks again went right at Williams who picked up her third foul within the first minute of the quarter.

With Williams back on the bench, the Mustangs again turned to Fishero to bail them out, but she, too, quickly picked up her third foul. The Mustangs were without their two primary scorers and the Blackhawks (20-7) were just getting started.

However, the Mustangs quick guards were able to keep up the defensive pressure and kept the damage to a minimum.

"The fact that we had so many of our guards step up and knock down some shots when they needed to was huge for us," Fountain Central head coach Amie Anthrop explained. "When you look back at this game it goes back to those kids who kept getting stops and scoring when they needed to."

The Mustangs were also very fortunate that the Blackhawks two star players were not able to knock down a lot of shots in the second half.

Both Reed and Welch went 6-for-23 in the second half. Welch hit all the shots from the field and Reed managed to get to the foul line five times. Coach Anthrop threw everything she had at the two playmakers and knows that this may not be the last time she sees them.

"We honestly talked about them all week long," she said. "They're just great players. Welch is just so athletic in everything that she does, and Reed as a freshman is playing at a junior or senior level."

"Hopefully we won't have to see them too much in the future, but I'm sure we will," she added.

Welch finished the game with 19 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double. Reed dropped in 16 points, 10 of which came from the free-throw line.

Senior Rebekah Hopper also played well for the Blackhawks. She finished with eight points and seven boards and was all over the place for Sheridan.

"She's as good a leader as I've ever coached," Guenther said of Hopper. "I couldn't be more pleased with the way that young lady has developed."