One of the top 3-point perimeter shooters in the St. Louis area, Triad senior Sophie Thompson came up with another 3-point shot at crunch time again on Monday at the Scott Credit Union Highland Girls Basketball Tournament
Only this time it was a conventional 3-point play which proved to be the big play of the game.
Thompson helped thwart an O’Fallon comeback midway in the fourth quarter with a 3-point play to increase the Knights lead to six points then combined with Samantha Bassler to make 12 of 13 free throws in the final 2 1/2 minutes as Triad moved into the tournament semifinals with a 57-46 win at Highland High School.
Playing before a large crowd in the 30th annual event, the Knights (17-2) broke out to a 15-point lead on a 14-0 scoring run in the later stages of the second and early part of the third quarter, but O’Fallon (12-7) rallied behind five fourth quarter 3-point baskets — two each from Tamia Cash and Jayla Stubblefield.
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Cash’s second 3-point hoop cut the Knights lead to 40-37.
But following a Knights timeout, Thompson drove the lane, made the basket and was fouled. The 5-10 senior, who would finish the night 15 of 19 from the foul line, made the free throw to give Triad a 43-37 lead.
“Our kids have played in enough big games to where they know how to handle that kind of situation,” Triad coach Josh Hunt said. “Then when we needed to we were able to knock down the free throws in the end.”
Bassler, scoreless until the final period, calmly made eight straight free throws in to help ice the win as Triad moved into the tournament semifinals at 8 pm. on Wednesday against Central.
The top-ranked Class 2A team in the state, Central broke away late to overcome a pesky Althoff squad 53-37 in the other quarterfinal game.
Thompson led Triad with 27 points while senior Abby Burroughs added 14, 12 coming in the first half.
With senior Marta Durk scoring nine first-half points, O’Fallon stayed in the game until Triad ended the half with a 6-0 run to take a 22-17 lead.
But Thompson scored 14 of Triad’s first 16 points of the third quarter as the Knights opened up as much as a 16-point lead.
“We beat a very good team here tonight,” Hunt said. “I thought we were able to get good shots and when Sophie (Thompson) gets the ball in a position where she can score, she’s tough to stop.”
“Sam Bassler may not have a great free throw percentage but I’ve seen her make free throws in practice. We knew she could make them there.’’
Durk led O’Fallon (12-7) with 14 points while Cash added 13.
“I thought our players battled hard until the end,” O’Fallon coach Ryan Massey said. “We missed four layups in the first half and those were big, but the girls didn’t quit. I was proud of their effort.”
Central 53, Althoff 37
All-stater Kendra Wilken scored 19 points and added 15 rebounds as the Cougars (18-3) pulled away late and moved into the tournament semifinals.
Coming off a 44-41 win over Teutopolis on Saturday, Althoff (6-14) trailed the top Class 2A team in the state by just four points late in the fourth quarter, before Central, getting 3-point baskets from guards Faye Meissner, Breanne Jansen and Grace Yaunches, began to pull away.
“First of all I’m proud of this basketball team and we gave an outstanding effort against the No. 1 ranked Class 2A team in the state,’’ Althoff coach Nick Knolhoff said. “We had the tempo the way we wanted it for the most part and I thought we did a good job on Kendra Wilken. She got a lot of her points on putbacks.”
“But we took a chance and when there four guards started making the 3-point shots we couldn’t defend both.”
Junior Maggie Reimer led Althoff with 14 points.
For Cougars coach Nathan Rueter it was just the kind of game he expected.
“We played better, especially on defense and we were able to make some shots in the fourth quarter,” Rueter said. “We knew Althoff was a good team. They are well coached and they getting better each time out.”
In consolation bracket play
Mater Dei 56, Carlyle 33
Throttled by O’Fallon in a first round loss, the Knights (11-8) bounced back in a big way with an easy win over the Indians. Sophomore Myah Beckmann was one of four Mater Dei players in double figures with 16 points while Kierra Winkeler added 13 and Kelsey Gerdes chipped in with 12.
Kali Michael and Molly Isaak scored eight points each for the Indians (2-20).
Teutopolis 64, Okawville 39
Playing with a chip on their shoulders after a first round loss, the Wooden Shoes bounced back with a dominating performance over the overmatched Rockets.
Senior guard Molly Smith led the T-Town attack, connecting for four 3-point field goals and 21 points. The Wooden Shoes (17-6) are ranked fourth in the Class 2A state poll.
Casean Tebbe led Okawville (13-9) with 12 points while Madison Hackstadt chipped in with 10.