CARBONDALE — The Carbondale Terriers took the lead in the second quarter and expanded it greatly in the third to beat Murphysboro, 51-20, in the opening game of the Carbondale 3A girls basketball regional on Monday.
“It was nice to see,” said Carbondale coach Marialice Jenkins. “We moved the ball, we got to the basket, we had some nice assists from different people finding open players and we finished two-footers, which we’ve had trouble with all season.”
Eighth-seeded Carbondale (7-18) will now face top-seeded Carterville in the semifinals Tuesday at 6 p.m. The Lions come in with a 14-game winning streak and a 26-3 record. Playing in the second semifinal is fourth-seeded Centralia and sixth-seeded Massac County.
“Torrey Taylor came in and gave us a spark, and Faith Halliday got to see the ball go into the basket on three’s and getting putbacks on rebounds,” Jenkins said. “I thought Hannah Lowndes was active in the paint and got balls for us. Kate Crombar did a lot of nice things, and we have to depend on Aikira Custer to lead us out there.”
Halliday led all scorers with 13 points, including three from beyond the arc, while also pulling down six rebounds. Custer added 10 points and Lowndes finished with eight points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
“All day at school I was anxious thinking about this game,” Lowndes said. “I never get rebounds, so we really needed to focus on boxing out and rebounding, because last time they held us on the rebounds. So that was kind of my whole mindset of the game, in addition to looking backdoor for baskets.”
The Terriers outscored the Red Devils 22-4 in the third quarter. During the explosion, Faith Halliday scored 12 points, including back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Terriers a 21-point lead.
“It’s been a while since I’ve shot well,” Halliday said. “I started reaching up after having some trouble with that recently, and my teammates were finding me when I was getting open. Torrey would drive the ball and get my defender off me, and then she would give me the ball. We all finally started communicating and that helps a lot to get our offense going.”
Murphysboro (10-19) had a long scoring drought in the first half, missing its last seven shots in the first quarter and its first 12 in the second. In all, they didn't find the bottom of the net for over 10 minutes.
The Red Devils had a similar drought in the second half, going 8:04 without a point as they missed their last nine shots of the third quarter and their first three in the fourth. For the game, Murphysboro shot just 15 percent from the field, including 0-for-15 from beyond the arc, while being held to single digit scoring in each of the four quarters.
“Just couldn’t get the lid off the basket tonight,” said Murphysboro coach Webster McGuire. “I don’t think we really played all that bad — we just couldn’t score.”
Murphysboro took a 3-0 lead on a basket by Ashley Jarrett and a free throw by Madison LaBranche, but Carbondale rallied, starting with a jumper from inside the free throw line by Lowndes to tie the score at five heading into the second quarter.
Two free throws by Kiara Cobb, a layup by Lowndes, a free throw by Alex Humphrey and a fast break layup by Cobb gave the Terriers a 12-5 lead with 3:00 remaining in the half.
Murphysboro finally got on the board on a three-point play by LaBranche with 1:08 remaining in the second quarter. LaBranche was fouled on a layup and made the free throw to cut the lead to 12-8.
The Terriers weren’t done. Custer got those three points back on a 3-pointer from the left side of the key with 18.4 seconds left.
Murphysboro then attempted a 3-pointer with under 4 seconds remaining, but it went off the front part of the rim. Taylor got the rebound and launched a long pass to Cobb, who converted the pass into a successful layup with 0.2 left to give the Terriers their biggest lead of the game, 17-8, at the half.
“I try to get assists and get Faith open for a three and other people open close to the basket,” Taylor said. “In order to win regionals we had to go out there and play our game, so we just took what we did in practice and put it into the game tonight.”