HIGHLAND — The Belleville West Maroons turned the tables on Nashville, outdefending the defensive-minded Hornettes.
Limiting the previously unbeaten Hornettes to a 9-for-39 shooting performance, the Maroons posted a shocking 32-26 victory Wednesday night in the semifinals of the Scott Credit Union Highland Girls Basketball Tournament.
"I told the girls that it was probably our biggest win in the last three or four years," West coach Clayton Fisher said.
"Forget that they are undefeated. They're Nashville. They're well-coached, they have great kids, great basketball players. It was a fine win for our program, and I did think we outplayed them tonight. We were quicker to the ball. We did some good things on the floor. I thought we played great defense. I am just very proud, that's about all I can say at this point."
The Maroons (15-5) advance to the championship game of the tourney, where they'll face either Central or Mater Dei at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
Fisher said the Maroons didn't do anything special defensively against the Hornettes, who were 3-for-18 from 3-point range.
"I'm not saying our strategy was anything great," Fisher said. "We just guarded them."
The Maroons got nine points from Shay Fluker, seven points from Imani Berry and six points from Jasmine Berry and Jesheon Cooper.
The Maroons were 5-for-12 on 3-pointers.
The Hornettes, who were ranked second in Class 2A in the state, dropped to 21-1. They'll play the loser of the Central-Mater Dei contest for third place at 1 p.m. Saturday.
"Their defense was pretty good," Nashville coach Wayne Harre said. "Give them credit.
"I don't understand. Sometimes we don't move on offense. It's part of our problem. We have try to get better. We have to try and make some adjustments here. We have to get better offensively."
Shaye Harre was the top scorer for the Hornettes with 11 points. Jordi Harre added seven points.
The Hornets led 6-2 at the end of the first quarter, thanks to a 3-pointer from Jordi Harre with three seconds left in the period.
The Hornettes could have built up a much bigger lead as they missed five layups in the first half.
"I think we have to focus a little bit on that," Wayne Harre said. "We have to make layups. You only get so many easy baskets in a game, and we have to make them. Until we start doing that, it's going to be tough."
The Hornets went up 10-2 on a basket by Shawn Rennergarbe, but the Maroons came back with a 10-0 run that included two 3-pointers by Jasmine Berry.
Berry's second 3-pointer gave the Maroons a 12-10 lead.
"Jasmine Berry's two 3s in the first (half) to get us back in it were absolutely huge," Fisher said. "It was 10-2 and they were starting to put the foot on the throat. We got right back in it, and from then on, we outplayed them."
The Maroons were up 15-12 after a 3 from Erika Harvey, but Jordi Harre answered with a 3-pointer and the two teams went to the locker room at halftime tied at 15-15.
Cooper scored twice inside to give the Maroons a 19-16 lead early in the third quarter. They would hold the lead the rest of the way.
A layup by Imani Berry put the Maroons ahead 24-19 at the end of the third quarter.
The Maroons got a 3 from Fluker and another basket from close range by Cooper to go up 29-19 early in the fourth quarter.
The Hornettes were unable to get back in striking distance.
A 3-pointer by Hannah Yung with nine seconds left cut the final margin to six points.
Highland 57, Nokomis 26
A day after coach Stephanie Harris complained about her team's penchant for slow starts, the Highland Bulldogs came out on fire.
The Bulldogs outscored the Nokomis Redskins 24-5 in the opening quarter and rode the early advantage to a spot in the consolation championship game.
"They were ready to play from the beginning tonight," Harris said. "I can't really tell you what the difference was. They just came ready to play. I guess when they make the decision they want to play, they play."
The Bulldogs (10-11) will play the Cowden-Herrick Beecher City Hornets (14-5) at 10 a.m. Saturday in the consolation championship game.
Emily Holtzclaw led the Bulldogs with 16 points. Olivia LaPorta added 12 points, eight in the first quarter.
"That's probably one of her best games ever, and that's what we need from her," Harris said of Holtzclaw, a 5-foot-7 junior guard. "She shot the ball with confidence, she looked to go to the hole, she helped take care of the ball. That's the kind of player she is."
The Bulldogs rolled out to a 10-1 lead, which they stretched to 22-5 after back-to-back 3s from Holtzclaw and Amanda Ponce.
A basket by LaPorta put the Bulldogs ahead 24-5.
"That's a good quarter offensively, that's a good quarter defensively," Harris said. "I think we all kind of knew deep down that they'd come back."
The Redskins cut their deficit to 32-20 by halftime, but they could never get within double digits in the second half.
The Redskins (13-9) got 17 points from Ashley Schneider.
Cowden-Herrick 62, Salem 54
Ava Paruleski had 20 points and Micah Jones had 17 points, 19 rebounds and seven blocked shots as Cowden-Herrick Beecher City beat the Salem Wildcats.
Morgan Hawkins paced the Wildcats (11-11) with 19 points.
Contact reporter Steve Korte at email@example.com or 239-2522.