STERLING — Despite going scoreless for over an entire quarter, the Inman High School girls basketball team trailed for only 10 seconds in Friday's 34-20 sub-state win over Bennington.

The Teutons, now 18-3 on the season, exploded in the third quarter after failing to score in the second. Bennington took its first lead of the game early in the third on a free throw. Trailing 13-12, Inman responded with a 16-4 run to close out the third quarter.

While it took awhile for the offense to get settled, the defense never faltered and it's the main reason the Teutons are a win away from their second straight trip to the state tournament.

"We want our girls to understand that no matter how much we struggle to score, if you play great defense you'll still have a chance in the game," Inman head coach Bill Maurer said. "That's what we've done all year, and hopefully we can do it another night."

Inman led 12-8 after the first quarter thanks to 3-pointers by Dantlie Raney and Olivia Clark. The Teutons held Bennington to four points in the second quarter and went into halftime tied at 12.

Inman had its best showing in the third quarter on offense. Maurer said he stressed to his girls at halftime to play confident.

"We thought we were playing not to lose," Maurer said. "If we're not going to win the game, we want to give our best effort. We were playing cautious, and we didn't want to do that. The girls rose to the challenge; that's a credit to them."

Despite the win, the mood was somber after the game for Inman. With 1:32 left in the fourth, senior Macy DeWitt went down with a serious-looking knee injury. She was in visible pain and required the assistance of coaches to get off the court.

Maurer hasn't ruled DeWitt out for the rest of the season, but he is doubtful she will play in Saturday's sub-state championship.

Inman will face second-seed Sterling at 4:30 at Sterling High School.

"I'm looking forward to us finishing what we started," Maurer said. "We made it our goal to make it back to the state tournament, and we're down to the last day and we still have that chance. I know our girls are looking forward to it and they'll play extremely hard — they always do."