ARTHUR -- Sullivan never trailed in beating fellow Central Illinois Conference foe Meridian, 61-34 in Monday's quarterfinals of the Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond Class 2A girls' basketball regional. A-L-A-H used strong second and third quarters to beat Villa Grove/Heritage 59-27.
The semifinals are set for Tuesday starting at 6 p.m. with Tuscola, the No. 2 seed in the sectional facing A-L-A-H, 13-12, and Sulllivan, 13-12, taking on third seeded Greenville at 7:30 p.m. Tuscola beat the Knights 50-29 earlier this season.
A-L-A-H 59, Villa Grove/Heritage 27
The two teams played twice before with A-L-A-H winning 54-51 Dec. 7 and Villa Grove topping the Knights 57-46 in the third place game of the Little Okaw Valley Conference Tournament.
The game looked like it would be a similar margin early as Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond led 20-18 with 2:18 left in the half. The Knight scored eight of the final nine points of the half, including two three pointer by Marissa Herschberger, who had had three three-pointers in the second. A steal and layup by Hannah Wallen made it 28-18 before Villa Grove's Aliya Holloman ended the scoring in the half with a free throw.
A-L-A-H broke the game open when they went from leading 28-21 with 7:28 left in the third to 43-21 with 2:46 remaining in the third. The Knights were 9-of-14 in the third quarter as Janette Comstock started the run with a basket followed by a three-pointer by Kyla Carson and a putback by Wallen. Another bucket by Comstock, a pair of free throws by Herschberger and a basket by Marcy Petersheim on a feed from Wallen pushed the lead to 41-21.
"Maybe we are getting healthy or jelling at the right time," said A-L-A-H coach Mac Condill. "We didn't expect Hannah Wallen to come back due to an illness. We thought she was done. The fact that we had her was a surprise to us and it changes your game plan. She still can't go as fast as she wants to, but she makes a difference when she is on the floor."
Wallen had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds as well as seven assists. Herschberger led the way with 16 points.
"Villa Grove is a solid team and they just could not drop anything in the bucket tonight," said Condill.
Villa Grove was 5-of-27 (.185) in the final 26:12 of he game from the field. Holloman led the Lady Blue Devils, 14-16, with 10 points.
'"We got help from everybody on the bench," said Condill. "In the first quarter we were in foul trouble and really most of the game we were. You look back at the adversity that we have gone through when some of the bench players had to play in order to make us survive this year turned into them having a lot of confidence and us having a lot more confidence in them. We had some people really step up. We were scrappy on defense and got to their shooters quickly. We tried to rebound as well as we can and we got a body on people. I challenged the girls to not just stand when the ball goes up. You have to keep moving."
The Knights outrebounded Villa Grove/Heritage 37-31.
Villa Grove/Heritage led 10-7 after freshman Kayleigh Block banked in a half-court shot at the end of the opening period.
The Knights grabbed a lead they would not relinquish with the first eight points of the second quarter. A-L-A-H took the lead on a rebound bucket by Callie Shable with 713 left in the half. The Knights got their transition game going after that as Kyal Carson scored on a feed from Hannah Wallen. Schable scored on a pass from Petersheim for a 15-10 lead. The Lady Blue Devils did not get a field goal in the second period until a three-pointer by Holloman with 3;21 left. The Knights led 28-19 at the half..
Sullivan 61, Meridian 34
The only other time these two teams played Sullivan won 59-20 on Dec. 11 in a CIC game.
Monday Sullivan led 4-2 before scoring 17 unanswered points starting with a basket by Chloe Riley. A pair of free throws by Esther Miller and a steal and layup by Lizzie Green made it 10-2 Lady Redskins. Two free throws by Miller, a three-pointer by Green and a basket by Miller off a feed from Haley Rose. to end the first quarter with a 17-2 Lady Redskins lead. The run continued in the second quarter against the Lady Hawks 1-3-1 zone as Miller's three-point play occurred after Josei Orris made one of two free throws. Green's basket made it 23-2 before Meridian's Abby Herbert ended the 10:03 scoring drought with a three-pointer. It was the first field goal of the game for Meridian, who finished 4-20, after missing its first 14 field goal attempts.
Sullivan led 32-10 at the half and shot 39 percent from the field, while their 1-2-2 trap held Meridian to just 14 percent.
The Lady Redskins scored the first seven points of the second half, including a three-pointer by Rose for a 39-10 lead. The quarter ended with another three-pointer, this one by freshman Emily White, for a 48-16 lead. It was the largest lead of the game for the Lady Redskins. Meridian scored the first eight points of the fourth, including four by Emma Jackson, who led the Lady Hawks with 15 points.
Sullivan finished with two players in double digits as Green and Miller led with 14 and 13 points respectively. Avery Still, a 5-10 sophomore, led Sullivan in rebounds with eight.