The fifth seeded Du Quoin Lady Indians won their opening game of the Columbia 2A girls basketball regional against 12th seed Belleville Althoff, but were derailed in the semifinals Tuesday by Chester.
Du Quoin played very well against Althoff, outscoring the Crusaders in each of the first three quarters and missed making it four for four by just two points in the fourth quarter to win 52-49.
"It was a very close ballgame throughout, but we kept talking about winning quarters, which we did," said Du Quoin coach Shawn File. "It was a very ugly game, we just never got into a good rhythm. But at this time of the postseason it comes down to survive and advance."
The Lady Indians held a 11-10 lead after the first quarter. Senior Bailey Harsy was the lead scorer with five points, including a 3-pointer, with Lauren Heape adding four points and Abbi Mocaby two.
Du Quoin won the second quarter 17-14 to take a 28-24 lead at the half. Mocaby scored six points and Ayanna Dunklin, who was scoreless in the first quarter, came alive with six points. Harsy sank her second 3-pointer and Doveleen Dunklin got the board with a basket.
The Crusaders came out of intermission on a 6-0 run to take the lead 30-28. But the Lady Indians rallied back on a 14-7 run to retake the lead 42-37 heading into the fourth quarter.
"We missed a couple of assignments out of the box and they hit a couple of three's to take the lead," File said. "We adjusted the box and regained the lead."
The key to the third quarter resurgence was on the defensive end, by holding Althoff's 5-10 center Anaya Davis to just three points after the junior scored 15 of her game-high 21 points in the first half.
"We went from playing straight man to man defense to a box and one, so that we were basically double teaming Davis anytime she caught the ball," File said.
In the third quarter the Dunklin cousins led Du Quoin with Ayanna scoring five points and Loveleen four. Harsy and Mocaby added one basket each.
Du Quoin jumped out to a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, but the stubborn Crusaders closed to within three points.
"Althoff didn't go away," File said. "We missed the front end of a couple of one and the bonus, they cut it to three late, but we held them off."
Mocaby led Du Quoin with 12 points followed by Ayanna Dunklin with 11 and Harsy 10.
"All three girls did a great job," File said. "Ayanna dislocated a finger on her right hand about midway in the third quarter and sat out the rest of the game. Loveleen Dunklin played great when Ayanna came out of the game and scored eight points."
Chester 50; DQ 38
On Tuesday the Lady Indians faced the Lady Yellow Jackets in the semifinals. Chester raced out to a 17-5 lead in the first quarter behind four 3-pointers, and settled for a 17-8 lead heading into the second quarter.
Du Quoin was held to just three points in the second quarter as Chester closed out the first half on a 10-0 run to lead 27-11 at the intermission.
The Lady Indians cut three points off the lead in the third quarter and one point in the fourth to lose the game, 50-38.
"I challenged our team at halftime to finish strong, because we had worked too hard all season to have our season end that way," File said. "We defended better in the second half, shot the ball better, and was overall more aggressive. Unfortunately Chester made free throws late, and scored a meaningless basket at the buzzer to win by 12."
Mocaby was the leading Lady Indian scorer again with 11 points with Lauren Heape finishing with nine and Ayanna Dunklin eight. Grace Alongi came off the bench to score eight points.
"Balanced scoring is what we have had all year long and it continued again against Chester," File said.
The Lady Indians finished the regular season above .500 at 15-14 for the first time since 2012 and only the second time since 1998.