In Tuesday night's semifinal games, top-seeded Charleston, which is currently ranked No. 3 in the state, routed fourth-seeded Woodland 65-34. Second-seeded Scott City, which is ranked 8th in the state, eliminated No. 6 Kelly 73-55 at Bloomfield High School.
Charleston and Scott City will play for the championship at 7:30 tomorrow night at Bloomfield.
Charleston (23-3) defeated Scott City (22-4) 77-69 in the third place game of the seMissourian Christmas Tournament on Dec. 30.
Scott City head coach Lance Amick knows his team will have to have confidence against the talented Bluejays.
After leading just 14-13, Charleston's defense turned it up to a different level, limiting Woodland (14-12) to six points over the next two quarters.
Charleston led 53-19 heading into the fourth quarter where the mercy rule kept the clock moving the entire period.
"We've been working on our defense, we weren't pleased in the first game against St. Vincent," said Charleston head coach Danny Farmer. "We went home and worked on it a lot and I thought we did much better tonight."
The Bluejays saw 11 different players score led by 6-6 junior Ashton Farmer's 14 points. Six-foot-3 senior Joshua Strayhorn added 10 points.
Senior point guard Marcus B
iles was a terror on defense, recording six steals to go with his nine points.
"He's so quick that you concentrate on him instead of everybody else, so you miss the open man," said Woodland head coach David Mirly.
"Or you concentrate making a pass to the open man and then all of a sudden he strips it from you and he's on the other end shooting layups. He just causes a world of problems."
Senior Trentez Lane had six points with six rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Charleston led 12-5 in the first quarter but Woodland made a run behind Chad Hulvey's eight points to cut the score to 12-11. The Cardinals still trailed just 14-13 after one quarter and 29-15 at the half.
Charleston opened the third quarter with a 13-2 run to put the game out of reach.
"We played well after the first quarter, that's what I was looking for tonight," said Farmer. "You know how it is in the postseason, you've got to come out and play. Woodland is not going to be the same team. They're going to leave their guts on the floor and we have to respond. We didn't respond to challenges very well during the season in my opinion. A lot of games we didn't take serious. What we've got to have is a killer instinct every night. We knew it was going to be tough."
Woodland was led by Hulvey's 12 points. No other player reached double figures in the game.
"We wanted to stay close with them as long as we could," said Mirly. "We wanted to keep them somewhere in the 20s at halftime, and we did that. We just weren't able to score. Their defense and their quickness is something that you can't duplicate that in practice. We haven't played anyone that quick all year long."
The Rams jumped out to a 6-0 lead and never trailed as they coasted to the semifinal victory.
Kelly (12-14) stayed close in the first quarter, cutting the lead to 17-16 at one point, but they never got closer.
Scott City led 25-18 after one quarter and 37-27 at the half. The lead stayed in double figures the rest of the way.
"We talked about coming in and establishing the game early with intensity and hard work," said Amick.
"I thought the first five minutes of the game would be important and we came out and were the aggressor. We really played well tonight."
Scott City's 6-foot-9 center Tyler Ward, totally controlled the paint.
The senior finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds and eight blocked shots.
"He pretty much shuts off the middle and that's got to be frustrating and it changes people's games that aren't used to playing someone that big -- it changes the way teams play," said Amick.
The Rams also got another big scoring night out of 6-4 junior Mark Dannenmueller, who led the way with 24 points, including 10 rebounds.
Scott City made 25-of-34 free throws in the game. Senior guard Jeremy Schlosser had 15 points, including 10-of-12 free throw shooting.
"They shot the ball about as good as they could shoot in the first half and we didn't shoot very well," said Kelly head coach Nick Lanpher.
"We forced a lot of shots and (Ward) intimidated us on the inside. We just didn't play our game tonight."
Kelly was led by Josh Jones with 14 points. Chris Romas added 10 points for the Hawks.