They say revenge is a dish best served cold.
That could be true for Harrisburg, who last year, lost to Nashville in the IHSA 2A Sectional semifinal at Johnston City.
This season, the Bulldogs (31-0) flipped the script, holding the Hornets to a freezing 20 percent shooting on 9-of-43 from the field and put the clamps down on Nashville from long range, holding them to just 2-of-20 for 10 percent in a 43-30 victory at Hamilton County Tuesday night.
It was all Bulldogs from the start, who opened the game up on a 8-0 lead and were up 12-3 after one quarter of play.
A pair of Lotte Miller free throws in the second quarter gave Harrisburg a 18-5 lead with 2:35 to play before Nashville closed out the half on a 5-0 run, all coming from Karly Stanowski as the Bulldogs took an 18-10 lead into the locker room.
An eight point lead felt like zero for Harrisburg head coach Jake Stewart, who despite this being their second meeting in the postseason, knew too much about one the upper echelon teams in southern Illinois.
"It felt like zero, because it's Nashville," Stewart said. "Carterville was just up on them by 16 and they came back to won. They are a comeback team, so any lead is no lead against them. We knew that's how good they were.
"We had a good lead," Stewart said at halftime "But, I was kind of upset because we were up 18-5 and then 18-10 to close the half. It was 18-8 and we had the ball, I wanted to get the last shot and hopefully make one going into the locker room. We didn't close well, but anytime you are up eight against Nashville at halftime, that's a big deal."
Harrisburg upped the ante on defense in the second half, limiting Stanowski to six second half points. She finished with 14 to lead Nashville and the Bulldogs contained Nashville on the boards, despite being out rebounded 32-24.
"We had Karsyn (Davis) guard Stalnowski a little more in the second half, to keep Matty (Hawkins) out of foul trouble and bring Matty from the weak side and because Matty is so long, if Stanowski does shoot, she's going to have to shoot over a girl that's 6-foot-2. "
Harrisburg led 30-15 going into the game's final eight minutes, where Harrisburg went 13-of-18 from the free throw line and without a field goal to seal the deal.
Harrisburg finished 13-for-38 shooting for 34 percent and was 0-of-9 from 3-point range, while finishing 17-of-28 from the foul stripe for 60 percent.
Miller led all scorers with 17 points on 4-of-8 from the field and 9-of-12 from the charity stripe, while Jessica Hopson also finished in double figures, tossing in 11 points.
Davis scored seven for Harrisburg, while Hawkins chipped in with six points, playing the first half in foul trouble and Brooke Meylor came off the bench for two points.
Harrisburg finds themselves in Thursday night's sectional championship game against Breese Mater Dei, who dispatched Vienna 57-30 in the first game Tuesday. The title tilt is slated for 7 p.m. at Hamilton County High School.
Michael Dann covers prep and college sports for the Harrisburg Register, Eldorado Journal & The Gallatin County Democrat. Follow him on Twitter: @spydieshooter.