Sophomore Madeline Kerr scored a team-high 16 points, Paige Gannon and Alexandria Lee each scored 15 and the St. Edward Green Wave toppled Luther North 71-51 Tuesday night in the semifinals of the Class 2A Immaculate Conception in Elmhurst.
St. Edward (11-14) used a strong night on the glass to jump out to a 38-29 halftime advantage, before concentrating on its defense in the third quarter. The Green Wave outscored Luther North 18-8 in the third period, all but burying the Wildcats.
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"Coach was really mad with us defensively (at halftime)," Kerr said. "We were a little tired in the first half, and we weren't picking it up.
"At halftime we got ourselves together, talked it out, listened to our coaches and did what we had to do to move on."
"We weren't playing team defense, helping each other out on penetration," Green Wave coach Michelle Dawson said. "We wanted to make sure that we owned the boards and got off to a good running game."
St. Edward nearly doubled up the Wildcats on the glass, winning the rebounding advantage 61-35. Lee led the way with 13 on the night, while Gannon and Kerr were hot on her tail with 12 apiece.
"It was a very important aspect of our game," Gannon said. "If they got the boards, they'd get the second shot, maybe keep getting points in and potentially go to the line."
The Green Wave began the game with an 8-0 run, and didn't allow a single Luther North point until the 4:00 mark of the first quarter. A Rena Ranallo layup gave St. Edward its first double-digit lead of the game, before a Sara Schaeffer basket just before halftime cut the Wildcats' deficit to nine.
St. Edward grabbed a 20-point lead with 3:35 remaining in the third quarter, as Kerr sank four straight free throws to give her team a 52-32 lead.
With Tuesday night's victory, St. Edward advances to Thursday night's regional championship game against Suburban Christian Conference rival Immaculate Conception. The Green Wave lost twice to Immaculate Conception this year, with neither loss by more than 6 points.
According to Dawson, St. Edward has nothing to lose.
"There's no pressure on us," Dawson said. "We want to come out Thursday night, play as hard as we can and see if we can mix things up a little bit and make them do some things that they're not comfortable with."