WOODLAWN — It will be Goreville and Christopher in Thursday night’s Woodlawn Class 1A girls sectional championship contest.

Goreville, 18-9, advanced to the title game with a 57-44 win over Gallatin County. Christopher, 18-8, defeated Meridian 53-31 to reach the championship.

In the first game, Goreville overcame a slow start to win convincingly.

Gallatin County’s Halley Chubb scored six points in the first minute of the game before the Lady Blackcats got on track. However, Ashlyn Darnell tied the game at 12 with 43 seconds left in the quarter on a conventional three-point play.

Brenni Tripp hit a layup with seven seconds left to put Goreville on top 14-12. The Blackcats never trailed again. In fact, an 11-0 run spanning the first and second quarters put Goreville in control of the game.

Time and again, Goreville beat the Lady Hawks down the floor for easy baskets.

“It started with our defensive rebounding,” said Goreville coach Mike Helton. “That is an area that has improved so much over the past two weeks. We really focused on it. That’s really helped our transition a lot, our ability to rebound it, get it out and go.”

And, on the other end Goreville forced the Hawks to rely on perimeter shooting.

“We did a great job of taking away the lane, talking, just a really good job by everybody that hit the floor,” Helton said.

Gallatin County did cut the Goreville lead to just three points early in the third quarter when Chubb put together a three-point play, but Goreville methodically rebuilt the lead.

Goreville had three players in double figures, led by Schylar Messmer’s 17. Darnell scored 15 and Samantha Licka had 11.

Chubb led all scorers with 28.

In the nightcap, Christopher rode a blazing start to a 53-31 win over Meridian.

The Lady Bearcats rolled to a 14-0 lead in the first six minutes of the game. Nearly all the points came from the perimeter as Kelsey Hasty and Maddie Gossett hit 3-pointers to start the scoring. They each added a mid-range jumper in the run.

At the end of the quarter, Christopher held a commanding 21-3 advantage.

“It’s something for the most part we’ve struggled with this year, getting fast starts,” said Christopher coach Seiger Shurtz. “It’s something I haven’t really been able to figure out. This is the second game we’ve played at Woodlawn. We played against Woodlawn and had a fast start then. We played against Meridian tonight and had a fast start. We must like playing in this gym.”

In addition to getting a solid effort from perimeter players, the Lady Bearcats also got a 16-point effort from forward Courtney Hoppers.

“Our inside game was good at times, but I think it can be better,” Shurtz said. “We didn’t shoot very well from the free throw line (3-of-13), and most of that came from our post players shooting free throws. But, whenever we work the ball inside out, that’s when we have success.”

Christopher placed three players in double figures. Hoppers had 16, Gossett 15 and Hasty finished with 10.

Alexis Crain led Meridian with eight points.

Christopher and Goreville will meet in the sectional championship at 7 p.m. Thursday.

les.winkeler@thesouthern.com

618-351-5088

On Twitter: @LesWinkeler​

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Sports editor

Les Winkeler is sports editor and outdoors writer for The Southern Illinoisan.

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