CENTRALIA — Carterville used a siege mentality to get past Salem, 37-29, Tuesday and advance to the Centralia 3A girls’ basketball regional final. Centralia also advanced to the regional final, defeating mistake-prone Carbondale 57-48.
With their offense struggling, the Lady Lions dug in the defensive end until finally getting untracked in the third quarter. Carterville had just 12 points at halftime, and the Lady Lions didn’t take their first lead until Hanna Schulmeister scored on a run out two minutes into the third quarter.
“That’s the way it’s got to be,” said Carterville coach Matt Crain. “Our defense has to take care of us until our offense catches up on some nights. It also gets our offense going.”
Salem put 10 points on the board in the first quarter, but Carterville switched to a 1-2-2 half court trap. That seemed to turn the tide in the Lady Cats’ favor.
“We’re long,” Crain said “We’re quick. Sometimes that gives us a jolt of energy. And, we needed it. I’m really happy with our effort. It wasn’t the prettiest deal, but it doesn’t have to be pretty right now. It just has to be a ‘W’ and you move on.”
And, Carterville used a 12-0 run that spanned the third and fourth quarters to take control of the game. While the defense remained steady, senior point guard Megan Barrett finally gained some traction on the offensive end. She led Carterville with 14 points.
“That’s what seniors should do,” Crain said. “She’s been part of three regional teams and a Sweet 16 team. She’s our experience, and that’s what she’s supposed to do.”
In the second half of the doubleheader, Centralia took a big early lead, then hung on to end Carbondale’s season 57-48.
The Orphan Annies pounded the ball inside early, taking a 21-8 lead after one quarter. Centralia got 12 of its 21 points from forwards Latavia Maines, Nikita Maines and Deasia Griggs.
“That’s not a surprise,” said Carbondale coach Marialice Jenkins. “We played them twice. We did a pretty good job on them the other two times, but for some reason tonight we decided not to guard them the way we wanted to. They have size, they’re good and they can put it in the basket.”
Carbondale rallied to cut the deficit to seven points at halftime, but the Terriers were unable to sustain a serious rally. The Terriers were plagued by turnovers (20) and the inability to convert shots in the lane.
“We really dug a hole that first quarter,” Jenkins said. “I don’t know if we were just tight from the moment, or we had some young kids in big spots that, I don’t know, they weren’t ready for it I guess. Centralia, credit them, they made shots and put runs on. When we would get a run, we’d shoot ourselves in the foot with a turnover or miss a point-blank shot.”
Carbondale closed the gap to 40-36 late in the third quarter on a Johnecia Kyles jumper, but Brook Nossett countered with a trey to keep the Centralia advantage at seven entering the fourth quarter.
The Terriers were never closer than five points in the final quarter.
Nossett led all scorers with 20 points while Latavia Maines had 14 and Nikita Maines 10.
Kyles scored 15 for Carbondale with Maddie Doan and McKynlee Schwartz chipping in 11 apiece.