New Athens High School freshman Danika White scored a career-high 24 points — including 12 in the final 10 minutes — to help key a second-half comeback as the Yellow Jackets overcame Steeleville 45-39 on Wednesday in the semifinals of the Class 1A Marissa Girls Regional Basketball Tournament.
Steeleville (11-14), which lost twice to its Cahokia Conference rival by a combined 16 points during the regular season, led by as many as five points late in the third quarter before White began to assert herself on the offensive end of the court.
White scored four of the Yellow Jackets’ final six points of the quarter as New Athens tied the game at 33.
Steeleville still led 37-35 with 4:13 left when coach John Antonacci was called for a technical foul. New Athens senior Hunter Parker made one free throw, and when White scored on the Yellow Jackets’ next possession, New Athens had the lead for good.
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“It was a grind tonight. Steeleville is a good ball club, and you know the old saying about beating a team three times in the same year,” New Athens coach Erik Hager said. “At this time of year, you want to play well enough to advance, and we did that tonight.”
New Athens (17-10) advances to the title game at 7 p.m. Thursday at Marissa High School, where it will take on Gallatin County.
Gallatin County 68, Marissa 37
Junior all-state guard Hailey Chubb scored 23 of her 31 points in the first half as the second-seeded Lady Hawks rolled into the regional title game with a 68-37 over the Meteors.
Averaging 34 points per game with more than 2,200 points for her career, Chubb scored at will against a Marissa team (10-14) that played the Lady Hawks close for a quarter before being overwhelmed in the second period.
Gallatin County (21-8) led 41-19 at halftime.
Senior guard Chelsea Hill led Marissa with 12 points.