Columbia turned a halftime deficit into a third-quarter lead Tuesday and got some big shots down the stretch from sophomore Kaylee Bastien in a 50-40 semifinal victory over Cahokia at the Class 3A Columbia Regional.
Trailing 23-21 at halftime, Columbia outscored Cahokia 13-2 in the third quarter and held off the Comanches down the stretch to reach their first 3A girls basketball regional final.
Columbia (20-7) will face Cahokia Conference-Mississippi Division rival Freeburg (13-14) for the regional championship at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The teams split two games this season.
Bastien led the way with 16 points. Erika Varel added nine for Columbia and Savannah Wittenbrink and Calli Germain each scored eight.
"The girls came out of halftime ready to play," said Columbia coach Scott Germain, whose team helped itself by sinking 16-of-21 at the free-throw line. "It's nice to put yourself in this situation. These girls, and especially these seniors, have worked so hard over the last few years pointing toward this year."
Many of Columbia's basketball seniors were on the volleyball team that won regional and sectional titles before losing in the 3A super-sectional.
Cahokia got 12 points from Teykia Cooper and nine each from Lashonda Brewer and Dasha Thomas. The Comanches were down by nine, then fought back to tie it in the fourth quarter before the Eagles pulled away late.
"They're athletic and they had some size inside, so the key tonight was rebounding," Coach Germain said. "The rebounding was huge in the second half and that's basically what did us right."
Freeburg 48, Mascoutah 22
Freeburg clamped down the defense on Mascoutah, never letting the Indians reach double-digits in any quarter. Mascoutah (13-14) was outscored 15-1 in the third quarter by the Midgets, who got 12 points from Lauren Mense, 11 from Chelsea Hill and nine from Rachel Keseman.
Baley Bauer was Mascoutah's top scorer with six points as the Indians were outscored 28-8 in the second half.
Class 1A Lebanon Sectional
Okawville advanced to the sectional championship with a 50-45 semifinal victory over Hardin Calhoun. The Rockets (22-8) will face Carrollton (24-5) in the title game at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
Class 4A Alton Regional
Nationally ranked Edwardsville, which took over first place in the Associated Press state rankings on Tuesday, moved to 28-0 by hammering Alton 72-22 in the regional semifinals. Edwardsville was 19th in the latest USA Super 25 national rankings.
Aalyah Covington and Emmonnie Henderson scored 20 points each for the Tigers while Jordann Wilson had 10 for Alton.
Class 3A Centralia Regional
Mater Dei outscored Centralia 9-1 in the opening quarter and went on to defeat the Orphan Annies 49-27 in a regional semifinal game. Jamie Voss had 13 points for Mater Dei (22-6) and Paige Richards had eight. Danielle Meadows scored eight for Centralia. The Knights will take on Effingham for the regional championship at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
Class 3A Civic Memorial Regional
Highland's Emily Vonder Haar netted 12 points and Kristin Potthast had 10 in a 44-41 regional semifinal victory over East St. Louis. Brelanair Cox led East St. Louis with 10 points and Tonisha Mayes had eight. Highland (17-12) will face Mississippi Valley Conference rival Civic Memorial (23-7) for the regional title at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Civic Memorial won both meetings, 49-46 and 44-24.
O'Fallon 65, Granite City 48
O'Fallon put together a solid effort and got 14 points from Tyus Berry, 12 from Darien McClain and 11 from Charlie Harmon in a Southwestern Conference victory over Granite City. Omar Walker led Granite City with 10 points while Darrell Miller and Devin Narvaez had nine each.
Sparta 56, Okawville 54
Christian Jackson scored 20 points as Sparta held off a late charge by the Okawville Rockets.
Madison 79, Springfield Calvary 62
Marquis Borney continued his impressive season for the Madison Trojans, scoring 25 points. The Trojans also got 12 points from Carvel Dixon and 11 from Tyvon Powers.