COLLINSVILLE — The Granite City Warriors turned the tables on the Belleville East Lancers in the third meeting between them, and now they'll be trying to do the same against the Belleville West Maroons.
The Warriors (15-13) will play the Maroons (21-7) at 7:30 p.m. today in the championship game of the Class 4A Collinsville Girls Basketball Regional.
The Maroons beat the Warriors twice -- 39-36 on Dec. 4 in Granite City and 43-37 on Jan. 22 in Belleville -- in Southwestern Conference play.
"The second time we had a nine-point lead at halftime and were up by 12 in the third quarter,'' Granite City coach Raffi Karibian said. "Then they increased the defense on us and we didn't do a very good job of handing it.''
The Warriors also lost East twice in SWC play before handing the Lancers a 44-39 loss on Tuesday night in the semifinals of the Collinsville Regional.
Both the Warriors and the Maroons have an imposing presence in the lane.
The Warriors have 6-foot-2 Natalie O'Keefe, who leads the metro-east with an average of 6.93 blocked shots per game, while the Maroons have 6-foot-5 Jesheon Cooper.
"Defensively we're pretty similar in that we've both got big kids inside,'' Karibian said. "We're not as athletic and quick as they are.
"Offensively, we've got to be able to control the tempo, which means we've got to be to handle the basketball against pressure and not turn it over.''
The Maroons have won three regional titles in the last four years, while the Warriors haven't won a regional since claiming back-to-back Class AA regional crowns in 2003 and 2004.
In other girls playoff games Thursday:
* The Red Bud Musketeers have never won a sectional in girls or boys basketball, and they have a daunting task ahead of them in their attempt to make school history.
The Musketeers (18-10) will play the Nashville Hornettes (29-2), who ranked No. 4 in Class 2A in the state, in the championship game of the Class 2A Dupo Sectional.
"I just told the girls, 'You've played Breese Central twice, you've played Carlyle twice, but this is a whole different type of physicality,''' Red Bud coach Janelle Pfeiffer said. "It should be. There are 16 teams left in the state of Illinois right now. It should be a difficult game. (Nashville coach) Wayne (Harre) is actually one of my coaching idols. It'll be fun to coach against him. We're going to leave it all out on the floor Thursday.
"Whatever the outcome may be, we're going to play as hard as we possibly can.''
The Hornettes advanced to the sectional title by beating Central 45-33 in a battle of two of the state's Class 2A heavyweights.
The Hornettes are seeking their eighth sectional title in the last 13 years under Harre.
* The Edwardsville Tigers (28-0) will put their perfect record on line against the Springfield Senators (26-3) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the championship game of the Class 4A Alton Regional.
The Tigers are ranked No. 1 in the state Class 4A. The Senators are ranked No. 4.
The Senators have made four consecutive trips to the Class 3A state tournament, placing third twice and twice placing fourth.
The Senators have a balanced scoring attack with senior guard Ashton Williams leading the way at about 12 points per game.
Williams will play basketball at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
* Two Cahokia Conference rivals -- the Columbia Eagles (20-7) and the Freeburg Midgets (13-14) -- will be playing at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the championship game of the Class 3A Columbia Regional.
The two squads split their two regular-season meetings with each holding serve on its home court.
* Another conference matchup has the Highland Bulldogs (17-12) squaring off against the Civic Memorial Eagles (23-7) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the title game of the Class 3A Civic Memorial Regional.
The Eagles beat the Bulldogs twice in Mississippi Valley Conference play, edging them 49-46 on Nov. 26 in Highland and routing them 44-24 on Jan. 10 in Bethalto.
The Eagles have 15 won of their last 16 games with the lone loss coming against powerhouse (Quincy) Notre Dame.
The Bulldogs enter the game riding a seven-game winning streak.
* The Okawville Rockets (22-8) will be aiming for their first sectional title since 2008 when they play the Carrollton Hawks (24-5) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the championship game of the Class 1A Lebanon Sectional.
* The Mater Dei Knights (22-6) will play the Effingham Flaming Hearts in the championship game of the Class 3A Centralia Regional.
Contact reporter Steve Korte at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2522.