MOUNT ZION — Quincy Notre Dame and Centennial played a hard-fought game in December, with the host Chargers losing 47-43.
The teams will meet again at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the sectional final.
Chargers coach Susan Thomas thinks her squad is up for the challenge against the state’s second-ranked team in Class 3A.
“They are the best team that we’ve played this year,” Thomas said of Quincy Notre Dame, which defeated Chatham Glenwood 52-30 in the other semifinal Monday night.
Despite the regular season loss, Thomas said her team doesn’t need to change much to defeat the Raiders.
“We need to be a little better from the free throw line. We are shooting much better now,” the Chargers coach said.
Besides hitting free throws, Thomas said Centennial (30-3) must avoid turnovers.
“(Quincy Notre Dame) has an incredibly aggressive fullcourt press. We have to take care of the ball and don’t turn it over in the middle of the floor.”
Centennial also will try to keep the Raiders off the offensive boards.
“The rest is just a matter of making shots,” Thomas said.
The Chargers received a team-high 12 points from Chelsea Cross in their 58-44 semifinal victory against Taylorville on Monday night. Katelynn Martinez and Stacia Simmons each had 11 points, and Chantal Meacham hit two timely three-pointers.
“We were up five at halftime (23-18) and pushed it up to as many as 22 after a relatively close first half,” Thomas said.
Centennial outscored the Tornadoes 19-10 in the third quarter to break open the game.
“We made some minor adjustments defensively (in the period), and Meacham hit two big threes,” Thomas said.
Cross also played a pivotal role in the decisive quarter.
“We used a four-guard lineup and Cross roamed the lane, and she did a phenomenal job of passing,” Thomas said.
Centennial was able to disrupt Taylorville’s 1-2-2 zone.
“We extended the zone, and it left Chelsea to catch it in the high post, and she did a great job of finding the open man,” Thomas said.
An experienced squad is good to have at this time of the season, but Thomas said her club also shares another key trait.
“They trust each other, they really do,” Thomas said.