FARMINGTON - The Charleston Bluejays will try to make their third straight trip to the state final four tomorrow when they take on Career Academy in a Class 3 Quarterfinal game at the Farmington Civic Center at 8:15 p.m.
Charleston and Career Academy have some familiarity with each other as the Bluejays knocked out the Phoenix in last year's quarterfinal game, 74-58.
Career Academy defeated Crystal City 56-40 in their sectional game. The Phoenix completely dismantled the teams in their district, defeating Bayless 98-35 and then Hancock in the championship game, 69-25.
The Phoenix come into the game with a 23-6 record, with all six losses coming to solid teams -- Murphysboro (Ill.), Vashon, Cardinal Ritter, Jennings, Normandy and Beaumont. All but two of their six losses were by close margins, with those being a 91-64 loss to Murphysboro and a 71-53 defeat at the hands of Vashon.
Charleston (20-9) owes one of its losses to Vashon as well, falling by almost the exact same margin, 71-51.
Career Academy is led by a trio of players that score in double figures. Chad Thompson, a 6-2 junior, leads the team with 16 points per game.
Darrell Stokes, a 5-7 sophomore, is close behind at 15.7 points per game and 5.6 assists per game.
Jayvonte Hughes, a 6-7, 215-pound senior, averaged 10.6 points while shooting 74 percent from the field.
The Phoenix finished third in the Public High League Conference behind undefeated and nationally ranked Vashon and Beaumont.
The Bluejays' road to the quarterfinals hasn't been quite as easy. Including Wednesday's 57-53 win against Portageville, the Bluejays also had to fight hard to win their district, eventually defeating Kelly 62-57.
Charleston is led by 6-foot-6 Ashton Farmer's 19 points and seven rebounds per game. Jamarcus Williams, a 6-4 sophomore averages 14 points and nine rebounds per game.
Five-foot-seven point guard Shawn Sherrell averages 13 points and four assists on average. Justin Clark, another 6-4 sophomore, averages 12 points per game and is the team's 3-point specialist.