WOODLAWN – Goreville made hay behind the arc and punctuated their offensive charge with precise shooting from the charity stripe in taking the Class A Woodlawn Sectional title with a 55-45 victory over Christopher.
The game was competitive up until the final two minutes of the game. The Lady Blackcats were 11-of-16 from the line in the fourth quarter when Christopher tried to slow down the game.
Christopher held a 19-18 halftime lead after Rebecca Henson heaved a half-court shot ahead of the buzzer. There were two ties and four lead changes in the half.
Christopher still held a 28-27 lead heading into the final period. Goreville's Payton Sopczak drilled a three-ball 30 seconds and teammates Summer Albright and Schylar Messmer added one and two free throws, respectively, giving the 'Cats a 33-28 lead.
Samantha Licka's uncontested layup at the 2:35 mark gave Goreville a six-point lead. Henson answered with a bucket underneath. However, Messmer got a conventional three-point play and Ashlyn Darnell hit a free throw with just under a minute to go to give the Blackcats an insurmountable 40-31 advantage.
Darnell led Goreville with 11 points and Messmer chipped in 10.
"There were a few minutes there where we had a few brain farts defensively. That really hurt us because they took advantage of it. They went on a 6-0 run and it was kind of tough to get back in the game once that happened," said Christopher coach Seiger Shurtz.
Shurtz said it was the game plan to make Goreville beat the Bearcats from outside, and they did, by hitting six treys, including three in the pivotal third quarter.
"For the most part we held them in check. They hit a few shots whenever they needed to and good basketball teams do that."
Point guard Maddie Gossett led Christopher with 15 points. Henson added nine.
Christopher finished the season 18-9. It was the final game for four seniors: Gossett, Megan Wilson, Callie Young and Kelsey Hasty.
"We're sending four seniors out, four good girls that have played a couple of years at Christopher and a couple of years at Zeigler in the co-op. They've set the bar pretty high – we've won two regionals, lost in the first round of the sectionals last year and made to the sectional championship this year. We've got some girls that are eager to come back and have success and that's what we're trying to build here at Christopher," Shurtz said.
Goreville improved to 15-9 and will play the winner of the Cowden-Hardin-Okawville game at the Salem Super-Sectional on Monday. The game was still in progress at deadline.