DU QUOIN – Du Quoin fell behind early, but rallied late in the first quarter to beat Chester, 66-54, in the opening game of the Du Quoin 2A girls basketball regional Monday.
"We had ball movement," said Du Quoin coach Shawn File. "We would have liked to be a bit stronger with the ball the first half, we were a little careless at times, but we ran a lot of good sets and got some layups around the basket. They are not super big and that was an advantage for us."
Seventh seed Du Quoin (9-15) will play second seed Hamilton County in the first game today at 6 p.m. with sixth seed West Frankfort playing third seed Vienna in the second game.
The Redbirds (9-17) scored a season-high 67 points in a 67-39 win over Trico in the second game Monday. Megan Beery and Cali Wright led West Frankfort with 19 points each with Lexi McLaren adding 15.
Elizabeth Bird came off the bench for the Lady Indians and sparked the first quarter rally with back-to-back baskets that saw the Lady Indians rebound from a 15-9 deficit with 2:58 remaining to take a 19-15 into the second quarter.
"Elizabeth comes off the bench and gives us some energy," File said. "She’s hard to guard."
Bird finished with 19 points to lead Du Quoin. The sophomore forward also finished with seven rebounds and four steals. Grace Haney finished with 12 points and Chloe Hill 10.
"I have to give the credit to my team," Bird said. "They pass me the ball, and I just took the shots. I don’t normally get many steals, so that was new tonight."
The Lady Indians shot over 50 percent for the game on 25-of-43 from the field, including 5-of-13 from beyond the arc while the Yellow Jackets were only 22-of-60 overall and 5-of-23 three-pointers.
"We had some shots that didn’t fall here and there, and we kept turning the ball over at crucial times," said Chester coach Pat Knowles. "Our defense wasn’t that great because we kept fouling, but we’re young with two freshmen, a sophomore and our only two seniors in the starting lineup, and at one time, I had four freshmen and the sophomore on the court."
After Chester jumped out to its 15-9 lead Katie Smith drew a shooting foul and split her free throws to start a 10-0 run that included a 3-pointer by Bailey Harsy to take a 19-15 lead into the second quarter.
Chester tied the game on two putbacks by Josie Kattenbraker and Kendall Williams to tie the score 19-19 in the first minute and a half of the second quarter.
The score was still tied at 26-26 with 3:10 remaining in the half when the Lady Indians went on a 7-0 run sparked by a steal and a layup by Bird, who also drew two fouls and made 3-of-4 free throws, to take a seven-point into halftime.
After Du Quoin upped its lead to nine on a pair of free throws by Morgan Bullar Chester made another run cutting the lead to three with 4:37 remaining in the third.
Meryn Gross stopped the run with a 3-pointer. After Kendall Williams stole the ball and made two free throws after being fouled Hill followed a 3-pointer to start another 7-0 run to extend Du Quoin’s lead to 11 points with 1:08 remaining in the third.
A free throw by Destiny Williams followed by a jumper by Reese Chandler cut the lead to eight, but a 3-pointer by Harsy with nine seconds left upped the lead to 11 heading into the fourth quarter. Williams led the game with 29 points.
Du Quoin put the game away with an 8-0 run that included two baskets by Bird to open the fourth to extend its lead to 19 points with 5:24 remaining in the game. Two 3-pointers by Williams and Kattenbraker cut the lead to 12 with 1:51 left.