NORMAL — When it mattered the most for Teutopolis, Sadie Bueker was there.
The Wooden Shoes senior guard was on fire in the fourth quarter — scoring 13 of her 17 points in a 2:53 span — to give Teutopolis the 50-31 victory over St. Joseph-Ogden on Friday and a trip to the IHSA Girls Basketball Class 2A State Tournament finals Saturday.
It was Bueker's best performance of the season.
"Once I got those first couple points I knew (my defender) wasn't going to stop me until (St. Joseph-Ogden) changed something," Bueker said. "It kept working so let's keep doing it.'
Teutopolis (33-4) will face Chicago Marshall (26-8) at 7:15 Saturday at Redbird Arena in Normal for the championship. Marshall defeated Hillsboro 50-41 in the first semifinal match Friday.
Before Bueker had her chance to shine, it was Teutopolis' junior forward Claire Bushur who powered the Shoes' offense.
Bushur scored 11 points and snagged six rebounds in the first half as Teutopolis led 11-10 after one quarter and then 19-15 at halftime.
"It was great to start off strong like that and really set the mood for the tournament," she said.
The four-point lead was a much different result than the first meeting between the Shoes and the Spartans on Dec. 6 when Teutopolis won by 33 points, 72-39.
The close game at halftime had the Spartans motivated.
"Definitely the first half was one of our best halves ever and we had it right there," St. Joseph-Ogden senior forward Bree Trimble said. "It wasn't that we got tired or let up (in the second half), they just started scoring more and that got in our heads and we just went downhill."
St. Joseph-Ogden tied the game at 21-21 and then 24-24 with 3:20 left in the third quarter, but then the legs were kicked out from under the offense as the Shoes finished the quarter on a 13-3 scoring run.
The fourth quarter was more of the same as Bueker scored 13 of the team's 16 points to secure the 19-point victory.
"The fourth quarter tonight was how we played four quarters in December but I knew we weren't going to come out and play that way again the whole game — it was going to even out and it did," Teutopolis coach Laurie Thompson said. "St. Joe was ready and took it to us. It was a battle and when we started making shots in the fourth quarter we relaxed a little bit."
Bueker led all scorers with 17 points and eight rebounds while Bushur had 13 points and 10 rebounds.
St. Joseph-Ogden (28-5) coach Kevin Taylor said he knew Bushur would be a matchup problem for the Spartans.
"We knew down low that Claire had some size on us. We had some breakdowns and never really recovered," he said. "I don't know if we ran out of energy at the end but things didn't really go our way and we couldn't recover. I think we played them a lot better this time but unfortunately it didn't go our way."
Next up for T-Town is a familiar opponent in Marshall, which is coached by Dorothy Gaters — the winningest coach in IHSA basketball history. She's led the school to nine state championships.
Teutopolis and Marshall have history — they battled in last year's state semifinal game. Marshall went scoreless in the first quarter and came back to beat the Wooden Shoes in double overtime, 46-43. They went on to win the Class 2A championship, defeating Harlan.
"It feels good to get back," Thompson said. "These girls have worked hard all year long. They deserved it. It has been a goal since the beginning of the year and we are where we want to be from day one. I'm very proud of them.
"As far as who we are going to play, it's who we play. We are going to try to take it like our motto says: One game at a time in our way and in our style. We will see what happens."
Thompson is looking for her first state championship as a head coach after winning titles as a player and assistant coach for the Wooden Shoes. Since 2006-07, Thompson has guided her team to five trips to the state tournament, finishing second twice and third three times. In total, the Shoes have five state basketball titles in school history, the last coming in 1994-95.
Her players are eager to give Thompson that coaching milestone.
"We want to win it and we want to win it really bad for Coach Thompson," junior guard Olivia Niemerg said.