The Mascoutah Indians battled back from a 13-point second-half deficit to defeat Althoff, 45-43, and advance to their first regional final since 2004.
The Indians will hoste Waterloo for the 3A regional championship Friday.
“One of the things we talked about the last couple of games is that we are not quiters,” said an emotional Mascoutah coach Terry Moeller. “I’m proud of this team. It’s a good group of girls.”
The game was tied at 34 with 3:15 left when Althoff scored five straight on a stick-back bucket and free throws from Cambri Alexander. But Maddie Nekola scored 10 points of her game-high 17 points — including five free throws — inside the final three minutes. She said it was basket and foul by freshman Tieghan Morio that lit her fuse.
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“Our team never gives in,” Nekola said. “We just push each other harder and harder. When we started getting some layups and Tieghan almost got that and-one we thought ‘this is it, we can do it, we’ve can finish this.”
Mascoutah (13-14) also got 14 points from Katie Jokisch and 10 from Alex Cleveland. Morio and Tennaye Green each scored two.
Althoff (12-15) was led by Divine Lane, who had 16 points. Also scoring were Alexander with eight; Rachel Collins with five; Madison Wielbacher, Maggie Riemer and Emily Myatt with four each; and Amanda Kaltwasser with two.