The three girls’ teams on the Illinois side of the river are competing for state titles while many boys’ teams on both sides have kept their title aspirations alive heading into the sectionals this weekend. The playoffs for the big schools are underway as the boys head into the district semifinal action Friday night while the girls will have most of their district finals Saturday afternoon.
Let’s see what is happening in this week’s edition of the Friday Fast Break sponsored by Triad Bank.
The Illinois High School Association girls’ basketball final four started at CERCU Arena in Normal, Ill. Thursday as Okawville moved on to the Class 1A title game by upsetting the top-ranked team in the state, Galena 49-31. The Rockets trailed Galena 10-9 after the first quarter before outscoring Galena 26-12 over the next two periods to take a 35-22 advantage into the final stanza. The Rockets did not slow down in the fourth as they pulled away to earn the victory and advance to the title contest. The Rockets were paced by Alayna Kraus who scored 23 points while Briley Rhodes added 10 markers with Megan Rennegarbe grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds to propel Okawville to the championship game Saturday at 11 a.m. against Christopher.
In the IHSA girls’ Class 2A semifinals, Breese Mater Dei advanced to the championship game Saturday afternoon with a 61-54 victory over Quincy Notre Dame. The Knights took a 12-10 lead after the first quarter and extended the advantage to 29-23 at the break. The Knights continued to pull away in the third quarter by outscoring Notre Dame 12-6 to push the lead to 41-29 and were able to hold off a furious comeback by Notre Dame in the final stanza to advance to the title game. Alyssa Koerkenmeier led the Knights with 21 points with Amelia Beer adding 19 markers to push Mater Dei into the title contest Saturday at 12:15 p.m. against Byron.
In the Class 4A semifinals on Friday at 2:30 p.m., O’Fallon makes their first appearance in the state final four as the Panthers will take on Arlington Heights. The Panthers advanced to the state semifinals with a 65-49 victory over Bolingbrook. The Panthers took an early 9-5 lead in the Super-Sectional over Bolingbrook and never looked back as O’Fallon improved to 32-4 on the year. Jailah Pelly led the Panthers’ offense with 24 points while Shannon Dowell chipped in with 19 markers in the win.
In boys’ sectional action in the metro area, Principia continues to impress after winning their Class 2 sectional contest with a 71-60 victory over Advance. The Panthers took an early 18-14 lead after the first quarter and stretched it out to a 30-22 advantage at the break. Advance cut the deficit to 44-39 after three quarters, but the Panthers pulled away in the final period to seal the victory. Jaylen Edwards led the scorers for Principia with 22 points while Stephan Okoro put in 19 points and grabbed 22 boards to push the Panthers to the state Quarterfinals against Cooter Friday at 6 p.m. at the Farmington Civic Center.
In the Class 3 boys’ sectional at Hannibal, upstart Lutheran North moved on to the state quarterfinals with a 56-48 win over South Shelby. Jameer Cretter led the way for the Crusaders with 14 points while Davell Long added 12 points and five rebounds to help Lutheran North improve to 18-10 on the season. The Crusaders will travel to Moberly Friday night at 8 p.m. to take on Cole Camp at Moberly Area Community College.
We head back over to Illinois on the boy’s side as O’Fallon continues their impressive season as the Panthers moved on to the Class 4A Super-Sectional with a 64-35 victory over Quincy. The Panthers opened up a 15-7 lead after one-quarter of play and left no doubt the rest of the way as they limited Quincy to only 28 points over the final three periods. Rini Harris paced the O’Fallon attack with 19 points while Isaiah Camper chipped in with 16 markers to aid the Panthers in advancing to Super-Sectional Friday against Moline at 7 p.m. at Moline High School.
In the IHSA Class 3A Sectional Finals, East St. Louis and Triad will travel to Centralia Friday evening to play each other for the right to advance to the Super-Sectional Monday evening. The Flyers defeated Centralia 53-39 this past Tuesday as Macaleab Rich led the East St. Louis offense with 19 points while Antwan Robinson added another 11 points to help the Flyers improve to 23-8.
Triad moved to 28-6 on the year after defeating Mount Vernon 51-34 Wednesday evening to set up the all-local Sectional final. Drew Winslow laced the Knight’s 20 points while McGrady Noyes grabbed seven rebounds in the victory.
There are plenty of district semifinals that will be taking place this weekend with the Class 5 and 6 boys’ semifinals taking place Friday evening with the Class 5 and 6 girls’ semifinals happening Saturday. Class 4 will see their district finals will take place Friday evening with the girls playing their finals Saturday.
The Mid-States Club Hockey playoffs will wrap up Friday evening as Lafayette and Fort Zumwalt West will vie for the Wickenheiser Cup starting at 5:30 p.m. while SLUH and De Smet will tangle for the Challenge Cup title at 8:30 p.m. Both games will be played at Centene Ice Center.
Jim Powers has been covering prep sports in the St. Louis area for 15+ years and a part of the Missouri State High School Activities Association Championship Broadcasts for the past 11 years. Powers is also a part of the Fox 2 Verlo Mattress Prep Zone Friday nights at 10:10 during the football and basketball seasons. If you have a prep sports story, please contact Jim at email@example.com. Follow Jim at @hssportscaravan