The Edwardsville Tigers’ post-season journey resumes Monday at a familiar venue but against an unfamiliar opponent.
Fresh off a 14th consecutive regional title, the undefeated Tigers return to Collinsville High School for a third-straight game Monday when they take on Springfield in a semi-final round game at the Class 4A Normal Community Girls Sectional Basketball Tournament.
Game time is 7 p.m.
Ranked in the top five in the Class 4A state basketball poll all season, Edwardsville (28-0) got a combined 31 points from juniors Rachel Pranger and Myriah Noodel-Haywood as it handed Belleville East 70-33 in the title game of the Collinsville Regional. Springfield defeated O’Fallon 63-57 in the title game of the Springfield Regional.
The Senators (26-4) also got balanced scoring in the win over the Panthers. Springfield put four players in double figures as Raina Gully’s 17 points led the way.
Rock Island High School (30-1) is taking on Bradley-Bourbonnais (27-2) in the other semi-final at Normal Community High School on Monday. The two semi-final winners will meet for the sectional title at 7 p.m. Thursday at Normal Community High School.
Class 3A Waterloo Sectional
The much-anticipated fourth game of the season between Mississippi Valley Conference co-champions Civic Memorial and Highland could happen later this week, but neither Civic Memorial coach Jonathan Denney or Highland coach Mike Arbuthnot are looking that far ahead.
Both Denney and Arbuthnot know there is still work to be done before Civic Memorial-Highland IV can take place
Ranked fourth in the Class 3A state poll, Civic Memorial (29-2) will take on Murphysboro (22-7) at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the first of two semifinals at the Class 3A Waterloo Girls Sectional at Waterloo High School. Third-ranked Highland (28-3) battles Carterville (27-3) in the second-semifinal at 7:30 p.m. The two winners will meet for the sectional title Thursday.
Civic Memorial defeated Highland in two of three games this year. But Denney, whose team is led by two-time first team all-state selection Allie Troeckler, has his mind squarely set on stopping Murphysboro.
“Murphysboro is an aggressive, athletic team. We need to play our style and pace to force them to get into their bench. We definitely need to play to our strengths offensively and be ready to guard and play great team defense for 32 minutes,” Denney said. “Our sole focus is on Tuesday. Being the most prepared we can be for Murphysboro and coming out executing the best we can on both ends of the floor.”
While Civic Memorial coasted by MVC rival Triad to win the Roxana Regional last week, Highland was pushed to the limit by Central before coming out on top weith a six-point win at the Central Regional. Third in the Class 3A state finals a year ago, Highland’s veteran lineup is led by seniors Madison Wellen and Alex LaPorta.
On Tuesday, the Bulldogs will take on a Carterville team which won its first Class 3A regional title last week.
“They have good size, they are athletic and I know they have a freshman who is one of their top scorers,” Arbuthbnot said. “Our eyes and all of our attention is on playing a very good Carterville team on Tuesday.
“This time of year, its all about execution. Our girls know that if we execute and do what we do well, we can compete with any team.”