For the second day in a row, defense was the name of the game for the Okawville Rockets at the Mascoutah Girls Invitational Tournament.
Junior guard Kathryn Lohman led a balanced attack with 13 points, and the Okawville defense held Cahokia in check as it rolled to a 54-20 quarterfinal win.
The Rockets, who previously defeated Riverview Gardens 45-17 on Wednesday, jumped out to a 12-point first quarter lead against the Comanches and never looked back, improving to 12-1 for the season.
“Defense is something we take a lot of pride in and work very hard on every day,” Okawville coach Michelle Hasheider-Burianek said. “Cahokia was a very athletic team with a lot of length and speed, and I thought we did a good job of shutting them down.”
On offense we did job of sharing the basketball and used another good, balanced effort. I’m really proud of the way this group has banded together since Madison (Hackstadt) went down in the first minute of our season opener.”
A second team all-state player a year ago, Hackstadt suffered a torn ACL in the opening seconds of the Panthers’ first game of the season.
Madelyn Tepe and Megan Schlefer each scored nine points for Okawville.
Highland 70, Carbondale 32
The defending champion Bulldogs got an unexpected lift from sophomore guard Megan Kronk and romped past the Terriers (8-5) in the first quarterfinal game at Mascoutah High School.
Sophomore Ellie Brown scored 14 of her game-high 19 points in the first half as the Bulldogs (10-3) took a 16-point lead. With coach Mike Arbuthnot going to his bench early and often in the second half, the Bulldogs had little trouble in soaring into a semifinal game Friday against Belleville East.
“I thought we were a little sluggish out of the blocks today, but I was happy with the way we picked it up in the second quarter,” Arbuthnot said. “I thought we really played well on the defensive end of the court in the final three quarters. We allowed only 17 points in the final three quarters.
“The big lead gave us an opportunity to play a lot of different kids, and we had several of them play well. I was especially pleased with Megan (Kronk). She really had a nice ballgame for us.”
Kronk added a career-high 15 points for the Bulldogs.
O’Fallon 46, Nashville 32
Amelia Bell scored 11 points, and senior Sydney Thurwalker added 10 as the second-seeded Panthers (11-1) defeated Nashville in the quarterfinals.
Belleville West 41, Centralia 24
Kwanisha Carroll-Quarles led a balanced attack with 14 points as the Maroons (2-11) advanced in the consolation bracket with the lopsided win over the cold-shooting Orphans.
Mater Dei 70, Mascoutah 20
Kierra Winkeler scored 11 points as Mater Dei coach David Kohnen went to his bench early and often in the Knights’ win over the host Indians.
Althoff 40, Triad 34
Sisters Gabby and Tiffany Siekmann combined for 22 points, and the Crusaders made six straight free throws down the stretch as they held off Triad in consolation-round play.