DANVILLE — Something new and different greeted the girls' basketball teams from CPCI and Salt Fork on Monday in first-round Class 1A regional tournament action at Schlarman.
After 26 games, each school was playing an opponent they had not met all season.
There was more. There was a pregame ejection.
Referees threw out the new Baden basketball, supplied by the IHSA, because it was lopsided. The schools still had a ball, especially CPCI's Kaitlyn Redeker.
Her buzzer-beating rebound basket enabled the Timberwolves to upset fourth-seeded Salt Fork 36-34. It was so close, even Redeker had to wait for a signal from official Mark Blickensderfer before celebrating.
"I didn't know if it would count," said Redeker, who made all three of her second-half shots and totaled six points. "Me and Jess (Flinkman) were there to rebound and, somehow, I got it. It's amazing."
Salt Fork more than doubled the score in the first half (15-7). CPCI scored the first eight points of the third quarter to bounce back from a 15-9 deficit at the break. The Timberwolves forced Salt Fork into 10 of its 23 turnovers in the third quarter.
"My assistants and I put our heads together at halftime and said, 'What have we got to lose?' " CPCI coach Mark Redeker said. "We started three freshmen the second half, two that are strictly JV, and went to a full-court man press. They (Stephanie Fehr and Marti Maul) can play defense and gave our upperclassmen a spark."
Coach Redeker — Kaitlyn's father — had seen progress in his team until losing two starters in back-to-back games last week. Guard Natalie Neukomm went out with a broken nose and post player Madison Overbey was sidelined with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
"Losing two starters, we could have easily quit," Mark Redeker said. "We didn't quit."
Freshman Alexis Knake led CPCI with 10 points. Kaitlyn Redeker, Flinkman and Gabbi Jennings all had five rebounds.
Salt Fork's Emilie McFadden had game-high totals of 11 points and nine rebounds.
Both teams are 8-19 for the season.
Schlarman 60, Judah Christian 30. Janelle Marion was the catalyst as the Hilltoppers overpowered the Tribe for the second time. She had nine rebounds (six on the offensive end) in the first quarter. Marion scored Schlarman's first three baskets on putbacks.
Her streak was followed by three successive goals by Sydne Bryant, and the Hilltoppers (16-12) led 12-4 four minutes into the game.
"We were more prepared than the first time we played them," Schlarman coach Keith Peoples said, referring to a 14-point December win. "We looked at film and made some adjustments."
Marion finished with game-high totals of 16 rebounds and 15 points.
"If she plays focused and with a sense of urgency, she can dominate," Peoples said. "She played big tonight and what she did, hopefully she will do on Wednesday."
In Wednesday's second semifinal at Shebby Gymnasium, Schlarman will face an Armstrong-Potomac team it is 0-2 against this season.
"This was a good momentum-builder," Peoples said.
Laura Gross had 10 points and Sarah Daily eight rebounds for Schlarman.
Judah, which has a six-player roster, was led by Leslee Chambers with 12 points and eight boards. Alex Grady and Kristina Lee each had seven rebounds.