Richmond — Mt. Vernon is one win away from redemption.
The 3A No. 6 Marauders defeated No. 7 Rushville 59-51 Saturday night at the Richmond Semistate to earn a berth in next Saturday's 3A state finals.
MV (22-4) will take on No. 2 Hamilton Heights (23-2) at 6 p.m. at Indiana State University's Hulman Center, looking to avenge last March's 42-39 defeat to Ft. Wayne Concordia in the state finals.
At Crown Point, HH beat No. 4 Benton Central 69-58 to claim its first-ever semistate title.
The Marauders and Huskies met on Nov. 21 in Fortville, with Hamilton Heights winning that matchup 70-61.
Saturday at Richmond, Mt. Vernon sprinted out to a 17-4 lead after a quarter behind six points and six rebounds from junior post Erica Moore. Freshman point guard Sydney Shelton added six points in the stanza.
MV extended its lead to 33-18 at half, limiting Rushville to 25 percent shooting (6-of-24) through the first two periods.
The Lions trimmed their deficit to 42-31 by the end of third quarter behind junior Mackenzie Campbell, who notched eight of her team-high 16 points in the frame.
Rushville embarked on a 10-2 run to begin the final stanza, and got within five points twice at 45-40 and 49-44.
But, the black and gold finished off its Hoosier Heritage Conference rivals at the foul line, connecting on 13-of-16 attempts in the fourth and 21-of-25 freebies for the game.
Shelton was particularly clutch, sinking all eight of her fourth-quarter free throw attempts en route to a game-best 18 points.
Moore added 14 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore Shaely Duff added 15 points for MV, which emerged with its third semistate title (1977, 2012). The Marauders have never won a state championship.
Sara Cook had 14 points and seven rebounds for Rushville, which was searching for its fifth semistate crown. Keragan Niehoff added 12 points and seven rebounds.
Both teams shot under 40 percent, with MV making 36.2 percent (17-of-47) and RV 37 percent (17-of-46).
A difference-maker was the Lions' 19 turnovers.
In Mt. Vernon and Hamilton Heights' first meeting, the Huskies led 28-11 after a quarter and 47-27 at half before holding off a furious Marauder rally.
HH is the only 3A school to defeat MV this season. Both of the Huskies' losses came to 4A schools (Noblesville, Westfield).