SJO Lady Spartans win regional title 55-47 over IPC rival St. Thomas More; Taylor and Kelso advance in 3-point shooting competition

Following a one-year absence in the IHSA sectionals, the St. Joseph-Ogden girls’ basketball team returned to form as they defeated the Sabers of St. Thomas More 55-47 in the championship game of the Class 2A regional on Thursday evening at the High School of St. Thomas More in Champaign.  The Spartans (20-8) reached the title game by defeating Argenta-Oreana 50-25 on Monday evening, and in that game, junior Bree Trimble reached a milestone by scoring her 1000th point of her high school career.

In the win against the Sabers, fellow junior Peyton Crowe led all scorers with 22 points, while the aforementioned Trimble added 16.  Only three other Lady Spartans scored in the game, with Sydney Kelso scoring 7 points, while Sarah Acklin and Maclayne Taylor chipped in 6 and 4 points, respectively. 

SJO got off to a slow start, trailing STM 15-11 after one quarter of play, but outscored the Sabers in the second period to take a 26-22 lead into the halftime locker room.  After a couple of St. Thomas More comebacks, the Spartans bounced back to take a 39-32 lead after three quarters, and then held on to win the game, as well as the regional title.  SJO had won the regional in 2016 under then head coach Jeff Finis, but lost in the semifinals last season to Clifton Central in Clifton. 

SJO was very effective from the foul line, making 17 of their 23 attempts while committing 14 turnovers.

St. Thomas More, who came into the title game winning 13 consecutive games, sees their season come to an end at 18-10 overall.  The Sabers were led in scoring by Na’Kaya Hughes with 17 points, while Kai Bowen added 16.  Three other STM players scored in the game, with Emma Blomberg scoring 8 points, and Hayes Murray and Abby Leibach with 4 and 2 points, respectively.  The Sabers were 6-11 from the foul line in the game, and took pretty good care of the ball, only turning it over nine times.

The Spartans will advance to the Class 2A sectional which begins on Monday night at Iroquois West High School in Gilman.  The Spartans will play the Blue Devils of Peotone, who won their regional with a 43-36 win over Paxton-Buckley-Loda on Thursday night at Reed Custer High School in Braidwood.  Peotone plays in the Interstate Eight Conference and tied Sandwich for the top spot in that league at 10-1 overall.  The Blue Devils are 23-7 overall.  Game time on Monday night with Peotone will start at 6:00 pm central time, followed by Watseka and the winner of the Georgetown-Ridge Farm regional, which will feature Monticello against Oakwood. 

In the Three-Point Showdown, sponsored by Country Financial, two Spartan players, Sydney Kelso and Maclayne Taylor, both advanced to the next round of competition, and will take on other players advancing to the sectional next week in Gilman.

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