By Andy Loigu
Nicole Mallard and 1,000-point scorer Devyn Gara each posted 11 points to lead second seeded Warren Hills over visiting Hunterdon Central to advance into the Hunterdon/Warren/Sussex girls basketball tournament semifinals.
Making 15 free throws to just six for the visitors proved to be the difference in the 35-29 Blue Streaks’ win on Saturday. Gara accounted for the point differential by herself, sinking six foul shots. A tough player to guard because she creates off the dribble with quickness, Gara goes to the charity stripe often.
Rebounds also played a role in the Warren Hills win, because the athletic Blue Streaks gathered in oodles of them, 32 if you’re keeping score at home.
Mallard pulled down eight caroms and Heather Laffan collected six boards.
Next up for Warren Hills is a semifinal battle against Delaware Valley, at Warren Hills, on Saturday at a time to be determined.
STREAKS MAKE COLLEGE CHOICES
A pair of Warren Hills field hockey standouts will continue playing at the college level with Pennsylvania universities in the fall.
Tali Popinko will continue her career in Philadelphia at Temple University. The future Owl enhanced the Popinko family tradition begun by sisters Toni and Tori with her midfield play at Warren Hills. The midfield is the most demanding position physically, because it involves activity on both offense and defense. She scored 18 goals and dished 14 assists to help the Blue Streaks reach the New Jersey Group 3 championship final for the sixth straight year. NJ.com named her Skyland Conference Player of the Year. She was honored with first team All-Group 3 recognition and was named to the third team for All-State overall.
Rebecca Sigman will study and play at Bloomsburg University. She also was named to the All-State third team overall and first team in Group 3. She earned first team honors on the Skyland Conference – Raritan Division squad. The high scoring forward led the Blue Streaks with 34 goals and 14 assists.
Don’t step on my Blue Streak shoes. Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building.