Berlin’s interior defense and determined post game controlled the paint Thursday night as the Mountaineers surged to a 45-33 District 5 Class A girls semifinal win over Rockwood on Thursday night at Shanksville.

Berlin will face No. 2 Northern Bedford for the district title on March 2 at Pitt-Johnstown.

The No. 4 Rockets were outrebounded 27-13, as Brittany Pride led the way with 21 points, seven boards and three blocks.

“We did not box out well at all,” Rockets coach Mary Jane Eaton said. “Brittany Pride is one heck of a rebounder. She crashes the offensive boards very well, and we probably did not box her out the entire night. (Rebounding) is one thing we’ve been focusing on all year long. Whenever we lose big like this, that’s one of the reasons why.”

Berlin’s role players, such as Annie Thompson, with seven rebounds, and Leah Simmons, who had seven points and six rebounds, were also active on the glass. The Rockets outscored top-seed Berlin from the field 30-26, but the Mountaineers’ aggression in the paint led to converting 19 of 26 free throws.

“I was pleased with our defense,” Berlin coach Rachel Prosser said. “We were giving up shots rather than drives, and they hit a few. In a close game, it’s tough, but as long as we can keep the lead I think we’re in good shape.

“Our bench is huge, and it’s the same in and out of practice. I need every girl to play their role the best that they can every night,” Prosser said.

Rockwood led after a quarter, but was stymied in the second quarter, managing only three points.

Caroline Sanner led Rockwood with 13 points. Becca Foreman added seven and Courtney Bowman scored six.

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