PARK HILLS -- The Charleston Bluejays' dream of a state championship ended on Saturday with a 57-41 loss to Lutheran North at Park Hills Central Gymnasium in a Class 2A Quarterfinal game.
The Bluejays (20-9) trailed just 20-18 at the half, but with second-leading scorer Lezcano Dean out of the game with an ankle injury, were outscored 37-23 in the second half.
Lutheran North (23-7) advances to the 2A semifinals at the Hearnes Center in Columbia on Friday where they will play Bishop LeBlond.
"If that team doesn't win state, then I don't know, there must be somebody really good up there," said Charleston head coach Danny Farmer. "We got beat by a very good team."
The Bluejays trailed 8-5 after one quarter, but midway through the second quarter Dean went down with an ankle injury. Without Dean, the Bluejays had no outside shooting threat to take pressure off inside players like Jordy Mixon.
"I think (Dean getting injured) had a lot to do with the outcome," said Farmer. "I'm not saying we would've won the game but I think it would've been much closer. We played them close for a half but after he went out we didn't have any scoring."
Dean had two points at the time of the injury. Mixon finished with just four points.
"They had some kids with some long arms that could jump just as quick as Jordy," said Farmer. "That kind of nullified his inside game. He couldn't get it going and he ended up the game 1-for-9 from the field."
In addition to a tough shooting night, the Bluejays had to deal with the Crusaders' vaunted trap.
"They were all the scouting reports said they were defensively with that 1-3-1 zone trap," said Farmer. "It was devastating."
Leading 20-18 at the half, the Crusaders blew the game open with a 19-5 run in the third quarter to lead 39-23 heading into the final frame.
The Bluejays never threatened Lutheran North's lead after that.
Freshman forward Ashton Farmer tied for game-high honors with 18 points, including 8-of-11 from the free throw line.
"Ashton played a very good game," said Farmer of his son. "He played a super game against some very good players."
Sophomore Trentez Lane added eight points for the Bluejays.
Lutheran North was led by James Collins' 18 points. Riebeil Durley-Petty followed up with 11 points.
Even with the loss, Farmer considers the 2001-2002 a success for his program.
"We feel we accomplished a lot," said Farmer. "We came a long way. We weren't expected to get that far. I don't even think we were expected to get out of our district. We beat a good Notre Dame team and a very good Twin Rivers team and then we came up here and just couldn't get it going.
"We finished 20-9, we were district champions, we won the Christmas Tournament. We had a very good season and we learned a lot. We had some underclassmen that got a lot of experience."
The Bluejays lose five seniors to graduation including Tiyez Whitney, Mixon, Dean, Jemorrio Betts and Dontay Clark.
Lisa and Ashley Millham turned out to be better and more accurate bombers than the Bombers themselves.
The sisters from Notre Dame were accurate and unstoppable against the John Burroughs Bombers in Saturday's Class 2A girls quarterfinal. The pair combined for 43 points, including 9 of 10 shooting from 3-point range, and led Notre Dame to the final four for the second straight year with a 80-51 victory.
It was the second consecutive quarterfinal win over John Burroughs (17-12) after back-to-back season-ending losses to the Bombers.
Notre Dame, ranked third in the state, improved to 27-2 and will play top-ranked Stockton (29-1) in Friday's semifinal in Columbia, Mo. The Bulldogs fell to Stockton in last year's state championship game.
Ashley Millham, a junior, finished with 10 points.
Overall, the Bulldogs were somewhat subdued after their 16th straight victory. Notre Dame's closest postseason game has been a 60-41 sectional win over Twin Rivers after winning its district by an average of more than 40 points. Saturday's win lacked drama -- the Notre Dame starters watched the entire fourth quarter from the bench.
"Last year was our first time," said senior center Deana McCormick, who finished with 16 points. "This time we want to win."
"I think it's anticipation, not relief," senior point guard Courtney Vickery said. "We're focused and ready to play. We're ready for Stockton. This is what we've been looking forward to since last year, since we lost to them. We just wanted a rematch."
It was apparent early that Notre Dame was going to get its wish. The Millhams combined for 20 of Notre Dame's 24 points in the first quarter, which ended with the Bulldogs up 24-17.
The pair came in shooting a sizzling 44 percent from 3-point range on the season, but surpassed their usual standard.
Burroughs closed to seven points by the close of the first period, but never got closer. The Bulldogs led by as many as 14 points in the second quarter before settling for a 43-30 lead at intermission.
Information for this story was provided by Jeff Breer, SEMO News Service