Sesser-Valier had no answer for Central’s 6-2 All-Stater Kendra Wilken.
Wilken dominated play in the Class 2A Sectional semi-final Monday night at Trico High School scoring 32 points and grabbing 18 rebounds to lead the Lady Cougars to a 54-28 win.
Central, now 26-5 on the season, advances to Thursday night’s title game where they will face either Carterville or Breese-Mater Dei.
“As a senior you want to go as far as you can and to get the opportunity to play in a sectional final is something not everyone can have,” said Wilken, who scored 26 points and had 13 rebounds in the regional title game against Althoff last week. “It’s pretty special to say we are one of the last 16 teams in 2A.”
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Wilken was pretty special against the Lady Red Devils.
With Central leading 17-12 with 2:30 remaining in the second quarter, Wilken scored the final six points of the first half to put the Cougars ahead 23-12 at the intermission.
Wilken kept that offensive momentum rolling in the second half.
Abby Ratermann got a bucket to start the scoring in the third quarter for Central, and then it was Wilken time.
Wilken would score the next 13 points for the Cougars as they would build a 38-20 advantage to start the fourth period.
“She is the real deal,” Sesser coach Rick Metcalf said of Wilken. “Her footwork is flawless and she just picked us apart. Their perimeter people were patient and they high-lowed us to death.
“They are an awesome basketball team.”
Wilken was 12-19 from the field and 8-9 from the free throw line for her game high 32 points. She scored 24 of Central’s 28 points during a stretch from the 5:10 mark of the second quarter until her bucket at 5:42 in the fourth quarter made it 44-24.
“It’s just one of those things with her, once she gets rolling she’s hard to stop,” said Central coach Nathan Rueter. “She was big on the glass, too, and we tend to wear people down in the second half. They only played six kids, so that makes a difference.”
Sesser-Valier, who ended its season with a record of 23-5, was led in scoring by Karson Severs’ 10 points.
“The bottom line is that every time you walk out on the court this time of year you are going to be facing a quality opponent,” Rueter said. “The margin of error is slim at this point so we just have to be focused on doing what we do and hopefully it will be good enough.”