WEST FRANKFORT -- With a trip to the SIJHSAA Class L state quarterfinals on the line, Harrisburg Middle School's girls basketball team defeated Marion, 57-40, Saturday in the championship game of the West Frankfort Regional.
Marion and Harrisburg had split during the regular season, with both teams winning on their home courts.
In Saturday's rubber match, MJHS held an 11-9 lead at the end of the first quarter after a three-point play by Jerzy Bittle, who had nine points in the opening seven minutes.
Harrisburg had a five-point lead early in the second but it was tied at 18-18 at the 2:30 mark after two straight baskets from Marion's Lily Garrett.
The Lady Bulldogs closed the half with nine straight points, seven of them coming from Vershay Guyton, to take a 27-18 lead into the break. Guyton scored with 10 seconds left on a great pass from Kailyn Moss, then converted a steal into another basket at the buzzer.
Harrisburg extended its run and the lead when Chelsea Davidson drilled a 3-pointer for the first points of the third quarter. Davidson also hit another trey for the final points of the period and Harrisburg went into the fourth leading 43-31.
Alaysia Peacock scored seven of her nine points in the fourth quarter to help the Lady Bulldogs put the game away. Moss and Guyton also had nine points, while Stream Black led Harrisburg with 12 points and Davidson had 11.
Bittle led all scorers with 21 points. Garrett added six and Baylee Kelley had five.
Marion's season ends with a 16-4 record, while Harrisburg advances to face Centralia in the Class L quarterfinals next Saturday at Rend Lake College's Waugh Gymnasium. The game is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. but is the last of four straight games that begin at 9:30 a.m.