EFFINGHAM — Even though Sullivan trailed by six points to Marshall going into halftime in Monday’s Effingham (St. Anthony) Class 2A girls sectional semifinal, Sullivan coach Sheri McCain wasn’t disappointed in her defense, but she said she thought it could pick up.
Sullivan’s defense immediately got to Marshall in the third quarter. Sullivan scored 10 points off turnovers in the third quarter and forced Marshall to turn the ball over seven times as the Redskins took a four-point lead going into the fourth.
Sullivan held onto the lead as the fifth-seeded Redskins went on to beat top-seeded Marshall 45-41 to advance to their first sectional final since the 2001-02 season.
“It’s unimaginable. I am just so proud of these girls,” McCain said. “I think everyone counted the number five seed out, but these girls have worked hard all season long and are doing something that no other team that I’ve coached has been able to do and that’s get to the Sweet 16.
“They are just playing together, they are playing as a team and they are just fearless right now. They aren’t going to down without a fight.”
Sullivan improved to 16-12 with the win and Marshall’s season ended with a 21-7 record.
Junior Esther Miller had faith in her team’s ability to make a deep postseason run.
“It feels pretty good. Our goal from the beginning of the year was to win conference and that didn’t happen. But coming into regionals, it was a clean slate and we could start over and get going,” Miller said. “I think we are a pretty good team and have come a long way.”
Sullivan will play Teutopolis for the sectional championship at 7 p.m. on Thursday.
With the game tied at 29 in the third quarter, Sullivan freshman Emily White hit a three-pointer to give Sullivan its first lead since the 6:24 mark of the first quarter. White hit another three right before the end of the quarter for a 35-31 lead.
White hit four three-pointers in the game and finished with 12 points.
“She’s been doing it all year for us and it’s been key moments like that,” McCain said. “That’s huge for a freshman coming in. She’s got that mentality where she isn’t afraid. That’s helped us down the stretch when we needed a little lift scoring and she goes out and hits some huge ones for us.”
Teutopolis 60, Mount Carmel 39
EFFINGHAM — Teutpolis took a 30-6 halftime lead and cruised to the sectional title game behind five players with at least eight points.
The Wooden Shoes were led by Jolene Bueker with 14 points, Marianna Hemmen with 12 points and Sadie Bueker with 11.
The Shoes will play for their third straight sectional title and seventh in 11 years against Sullivan on Thursday in the finals of the Class Effingham (St. Anthony) Sectional.
Okaw Valley 69, Altamont 59
LOUISVILLE — Okaw Valley led Altamont 48-45 with 5:15 left before going on an 8-0 run over the next 1:14 en route to the program's first sectional win.
"It is a just a testament to the girls' competitiveness," Okaw Valley coach Brad Ackers said. "They don't like to lose and they got after it in the second half. That was a heck of an effort. Sweet 16 sounds great."
Altamont (24-6) led by as many as five points, 11-6, in the first quarter. But Okaw Valley stormed back behind Paige Robinson, who led the Timberwolves with 36 points and 13 rebounds.
"At some point you just run out of superlatives for Paige," Ackers said. "Paige just rises to the occasion. The better the competition the better she plays."
Robinson passed the 2,000 point mark during the win.
Natalie Jeffers was also in double digits for the Timberwolves with 18 points.
The sectional championship is set for 7 p.m. Thursday with Okaw Valley (27-5) taking on Tri-County/Hume Shiloh (27-4). The two teams played in the Little Okaw Valley Conference Tournament championship with Tri-County winning 58-52.
Tri-County/Hume Shiloh 57, Oblong 46
LOUISVILLE — Tri-County, the No. 4 team in the state, led 38-33 entering the final quarter, then put the game away with an 11-1 run.
Oblong shot just nine field goal attempts in the first half, but four were 3-pointers and they were 9-of-16 from the free throw line. It was the Panthers' (21-7) first sectional appearance.
Abbie Dart led Oblong with 23 points.
Danville Schlarman 66, St. Teresa 37
COLFAX — Schlarman's Anaya Peoples had 22 points as Schlarman ended St. Terea's season in the Class 1A Colfax (Ridgeview) Sectional semifinal.
DaeLin Switzer had 10 points to lead the Bulldogs.
MacArthur 65, Clinton 33
BLOOMINGTON — MacArthur began the postseason in a big way, putting the Class 3A Bloomington (Central Catholic) Regional quarterfinal game away early with a 28-7 lead in the first quarter thanks to pressure defense.
"We did some good stuff tonight," MacArthur coach Michael Williams said. "It makes it a little easier when you pressure the heck out of the ball and they don't have anywhere to pass it."
Jayda Dees had 24 points, including 6-of-9 from 3-point range, to lead the Generals (19-12).
Mount Zion 38, Eisenhower 32
CHARLESTON — Some early 3-pointers and good defense were enough for Mount Zion to hold off Eisenhower in a Class 3A Charleston Regional quarterfinal.
"We hit four threes in the first half and those were huge early to get us going," Mount Zion coach Shane Davis said. "After that we didn't shoot the ball real well the rest of the game, and sometimes when you don't shoot well, you've got to win on defense. Tonight, we definitely did that."
Emma Ewing led Mount Zion (8-21) with 13 points and eight rebounds. Eisenhower's Seven Sassano, playing in her final game, led the Panthers with 13 points.
"It was tough to see Seven Sassano end her career," Davis said. "She got into a little bit of foul trouble, which hurt them."