(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
DEXTER -- The Dexter Lady Bearcats are back in a familiar place.
Dexter defeated Ste. Genevieve 62-27 in the Class 4, District 1 semifinals on Wednesday, advancing to their fourth straight district championship game and their eighth in the last nine seasons. The Lady Bearcats won districts in 2005, 2008 and 2009 when they finished fourth in Class 4.
Jumping out early, the Lady Bearcats scored the first 14 points of the game before taking a 19-5 lead into the second.
"I told the girls defensively we really want to focus tonight on setting the tone early and for that first two or three minutes, just really getting after it," Dexter coach Chad Allen said. "I thought the girls did a great job of doing that."
Though the Hunters picked up the pace in the second stayed within 19 going into the half at 35-21, a big third quarter run sealed the Lady Bearcats' win.
Getting eight points from Brittany Harris in the frame, Dexter was able to engineer a 16--2 run in the frame that was capped by a Mollie Whitehead basket to put her team up 53-20 with 1:36 left in the period.
From that point on, the Lady Bearcats were able to hold Ste. Genevieve back by at least 30 points to keep the turbo clock running in the fourth and secure their spot in the championship game.
Leading Dexter, Harris finished with 23 points on the night, followed by Alison Jarrell with 15.
Jarrell was solid from behind the arc, hitting at least one 3-pointer in each quarter for a total of five.
"(Jarrell) missed her first two three's and good shooters keep on shooting," Allen said. "She kept shooting and then all of the sudden she had knocked down a few and opened up the inside (for us) a little bit."
The win, combined with Notre Dames' 64-46 win over Sikeston later Wednesday night sets up a rematch of last year's title game which the Bulldogs won handily 65-31. The championship will take place Friday at 6 p.m.
Carrying basically the same team into the finals as last year, Allen said he's seen a lot of improvement in what is still a young team.
"They're not playing like freshman and sophomores anymore," Allen said. "They're basically like juniors and seniors. They've grown up a lot this year, they're really focused and are ready to go."
STE. GENEVIEVE (27) -- Gwendolyn Dallas 2, Sarah Steagall 1, Peyton Herrell 5, Laura Rhodes 4, Hanna Klein 3, Abby Meyer 8, Jasmine Kuehn 4. FG 6, FT 14-19, F 10. (3-pointers: Rhodes 1. Fouled out: none)
DEXTER (62) -- Mollie Whitehead 7, Katelyn Frazier 8, Hannah Noe 2, Alison Jarrell 15, Erika Cobb 7, Brittany Harris 23. FG 27, FT 2-5, F 17. (3-pointers: Jarrell 5, Cobb 1. Fouled out: none)