In certain instances, it’s better to be lucky than good. At the sectional final in Sesser Thursday night, Breese Central guard April Gebke proved that streaky might be the best option of all.
Gebke hit three straight 3-pointers to erase a 6-point Nashville lead and give the Cougars a 32-28 win that ended Nashville’s stranglehold on girls basketball in southern Illinois.
Breese Central will advance to the Salem Supersectional and play Pana, which knoced off Teutopolis Thursday night to win the Fairfield sectional.
Nashville ends its season at 28-4 and ends a 3-year run at the state tournament as well.
The Hornettes took a 26-20 lead in the fourth quarter on a runout basket by Keisha Setzekorn with 6:38 left.
Central, though, would not roll over. Taylor Voss hit two free throws to cut the lead to 26-22 and Gebke buried a 3-pointer with 3:35 left to pull the Cougars within 26-25. After a Nashville turnover, Gebke buried her third 3-pointer of the fourth quarter, putting Central ahead for good, 28-26, with 2:25 to play.
“She is a good, but streaky, shooter,” BC coach Nathan Rueter said. “Our strategy was that we were going to have to beat them from the outside, but we weren’t shooting the ball very well.
“But April made some big ones.”
Gebke added two free throws with 50 ticks left for a 31-26 lead and Voss asserted herself on the defensive end, blocking two attempts by Shawn Rennegarbe in the final two minutes to thwart drives.
Central, which hit 6 of 9 free throws down the stretch put the final nail in the coffin with three seconds left when Voss hit a toss to give it a 4-point lead.
The game was slow-paced throughout, Central leading 9-4 after one period after a rare 4-point play from Taylor Wilken, who was fouled on a 3-pointer.
Nashville rebounded in the second quarter, hitting 8 of 10 freebies to tie the game 12-12 at intermission.
The Hornettes took a 21-17 lead into the fourth quarter before the Cougars rallied for the win.
Jordi Harre gave Nashville its first lead of the game on a 3-pointer with 2:39 left in the quarter 19-17.
Gebke led all scorers with 11 points, Erica Brown leading Nashville with seven points.