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It wasn't a masterpiece on offense — especially in the first half — but all Rock Island girls' basketball coach Henry Hall cared about was the defense.

It was that defense that smothered United Township and helped the top-seeded Rocks cruise to a 72-34 win in the first semifinal at the Class 4A Rock Island Regional on Wednesday.

The state-ranked Rocks (27-1) forced 15 first-half turnovers and made things extremely difficult for the Panthers (9-18).

"I was just OK with our offense, but we really were locked in on defense," RI coach Henry Hall said. "Offense is fun, but what wins games in the postseason is defense and we will take that effort.

"It starts out top with Imari (McDuffy), who just has never really played like a freshman. We stressed that getting the ball out of everyone's hands and taking the easy pass away."

That defense helped offset a slow offensive start before senior Carlee Camlin picked things up with three quick baskets en route to 15 points.

"People don't understand Carlee was a point guard as a freshman and sophomore," Hall said. "She has really become a force inside."

Camlin struggled with shots inside much of last season but has been right on the money in the last month. She believes it is all about confidence.

"I am just more comfortable with my shots," Camlin said. "My feeling now is if I can get open, someone will get me the ball."

The Rocks did a lot of that, finishing with 17 assists on their 28 made baskets.

"Carlee and Brea (Beal) are our senior leaders," Hall said. "They are both locked in and are pushing the others to play well."

Beal had another "Beal" night with 23 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and two blocks. Meanwhile, the rest of the team did its job.

"That's the tough thing," UT coach Carie Walker said. "You have to defend Brea wherever she is and hope the others don't make shots. Just like they did last Thursday (in an 88-50 Western Big 6 Conference victory), they made those shots.

"Then, we have to play a game where we don't turn the ball over, but that didn't happen in this one. We didn't have a great finish (Wednesday) but I am proud that my girls gave me 110 percent and we will be better next year for it."

The Rocks got nine points from Bre Williams, eight from Jamiyah Winter and five others with three or more. Still, it was that defense that really made the difference.

"Our little ones outside really put the pressure on," said Camlin, "and it allows us to gamble a little inside to steal passes."

Brandi LaFountaine led UT with 10 points and eight rebounds, and Jade Hunter added nine points.

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