NORMAL — One way or the other, a state-ranked girls’ basketball team is on the horizon for St. Thomas More.
First, however, the Sabers must get past unrated Rochester in tonight’s 9 o’clock semifinal game in the small-school bracket of the State Farm Classic at Normal Community.
Coach Chris Mennig’s team took care of Camp Point Central 55-34 on Friday — building a 27-15 lead midway through the second quarter — and rolled into the semifinals.
In the other bracket is the state’s top-ranked Class 1A team (Annawan) along with a team that has beaten STM (13-2) this season (Class 3A Kankakee Bishop McNamara).
Despite first-half foul trouble, sophomore Tori McCoy led STM with 20 points. Lexi Wallen had 19 points to go with a team-high six rebounds.
“We made some nice adjustments coming out of halftime,” said Mennig, whose team outscored Camp Point 18-4 in the third quarter. “The girls did a nice job rallying around each other when Tori was out.”
Overall, it wasn’t an artistic beauty for the defending tournament champions.
“Coming off Christmas break, it’s never pretty,” Mennig said. “It’s a matter of survival. We’ll do a shootaround (Saturday) and hopefully get our legs back under us.”
There’s no looking ahead for the state’s top-rated Class 2A team although Mennig said, “We all know we’d love another shot at McNamara, and hopefully that will be motivation (in the semifinals).”
Randa Harshbarger had seven assists, seven steals and six points for STM.
The title game will be Monday at 7 p.m. at Illinois Wesleyan University’s Shirk Center.
St. Joseph-Ogden 46, Pana 32. Katie Landis hit a game-high 18 points — including five baskets from three-point range — as the Spartans (8-3) rebounded from a first-round loss in the small-school division at Normal Community. The Spartans increased a 7-5 lead after one quarter with an 18-8 second-period run. SJ-O is in a 12:30 p.m. consolation-bracket semifinal Saturday.
Prairie Central 49, Sterling Newman 34. Laura Crane scored 20 points and Kiana Coomber had 14 for the victorious Hawks (10-2), who play in a 2 p.m. consolation-bracket semifinal Saturday. Shania Scurlock had two three-pointers and finished with seven points.
Centennial 40, Bloomington 22. Jasmine Kyler scored 12 points for Centennial, which held the Purple Raiders to six points or less in each quarter at U.S. Cellular Coliseum. Nikki Bilger and Jaki Vipond each had seven points for the Chargers (8-3) in the big-school division game. Bilger had her team’s lone three-pointer. Centennial plays in a 9:30 a.m. consolation semifinal Saturday.
Mahomet-Seymour 49, Normal Community 39. Maddie See and Maggie Schmidt were the top scorers, with 16 and 15 points, respectively, as M-S (8-5) jumped to an early 15-4 lead against the Ironmen. Karlee Deppe added eight points for the Bulldogs, who play in the consolation semifinals Saturday at 11 a.m.