After their hard-fought victory versus Waverly the night before, St. Paul came back facing another tough opponent in the Lion County League champions, as well as the fourth-ranked team in the state, Marais des Cygnes Valley.
St. Paul took the lead early in the first off a Jordyn Tuck trey, and Keyahnah Burk put the Indians up 6-5 with a three of her own. Another first-quarter trifecta from Josie Albertini put the Indians up by two points, but it was a put-back off of an offensive rebound by Regan Albertini that put the Indians up 13-12 at the end of the first quarter.
After the Lady Trojans bounced back from a four-point deficit the second to tie the game at 20, Tuck sunk two free throws to put St. Paul on top. With just over a minute left to play, Camri Burke nailed a three from the corner to give the Lady Indians a five-point lead. St. Paul got the ball back after a Marais des Cygnes turnover, and Tuck caught the ball near halfcourt with 26 seconds left, and held for the last shot. With nine seconds remaining in the quarter, Tuck made her move, and hit her second trey of the half in the face of a defender, giving St. Paul a 28-20 halftime advantage. Tuck scored 11 in the half, while Burk added 7.
Three free throws in the third from Ashton Wood gave St. Paul a nine-point lead in the third quarter, and Tuck’s three gave St. Paul a 10-point lead, their largest of the game. St. Paul once lead by 12 in the third, but Marais des Cygnes went on an 8-0 run to end the third, entering the fourth down only by four points, 36-40.
With 3:50 remaining in the game, two free throws from Burk gave St. Paul an eleven-point lead, but a five-point play would bring the Lady Trojans within four points with 1:51 left to play. Free throw shooting in the last minutes of the game was key for St. Paul, and they would finish the game on top, 62-55.
The Lady Indians received the third-seed, and will face Caldwell at 4:45 on Thursday at Emporia State University. Caldwell ended St. Paul’s season a year ago in the sub-state semifinals.