WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP | Defense was on full display at Dold Gymnasium on Friday night.
Both Kouts and Morgan Township held their respective opponents to under 30 percent shooting to advance to today's Class A Washington Township Sectional title game.
The Fillies defeated Covenant Christian 41-23, while the Cherokees beat LaCrosse 44-32. Kouts will try for its seventh sectional title, while Morgan Township is looking for its fourth.
The Fillies (14-8) used an 11-2 run early in the third quarter to build a 29-14 lead after the Knights had cut the margin to 18-12.
"Any time a team closes a gap on you, you want to extend it as quickly as possible," Kouts coach Ron Kobza said. "Our girls stepped up in that situation and did extend that lead. It was huge. It was the turning point of the game."
Jenna Jessen, who led Kouts with a game-high 13 points, had seven points during the run. Two baskets came on steals and layups, and she also had an old-fashioned three-point play. She finished the game with six steals.
Katie Parks scored 12 points for the Fillies, with six coming in the fourth quarter. She also grabbed five rebounds. Twice during the game, she injured her ankle but was able to return both times.
"When she shows up for us, we are a better team," Kobza said of Parks. "The thing about it is, as a coach, I felt like we could have used Katie more."
Kouts held Covenant Christian (13-9) to 8-of-49 shooting. The Knights were 2-of-13 from behind the arc.
"We were aggressive and tried to mix it up (defensively)," Kobza said.
Rachel Schurman pulled down 10 rebounds for the Knights.
In the early contest, the Cherokees (12-10) held LaCrosse to just 8-of-32 shooting and forced 33 Tigers turnovers.
The Cherokees opened the game on a 15-3 run over the first seven minutes.
"We preached all week that the first two games we had to come out to fast starts," Morgan Township coach Kevin Krieger said. "Without that start, we would have been tied at halftime, so that got us some breathing room a little bit."
Trina Coleman scored a game-high 16 points to lead the Cherokees. Coleman dished out four assists and also dove into the bleachers to keep a ball from going out of bounds. The gym went silent, but she jumped up and got right back in the action.
"She seems to make a play every time that we need it," Krieger said of Coleman. "She is one of the most complete players in our conference, and she showed that tonight."
Courtney Osby added 11 points and four assists for Morgan Township.
Shelby Rushnok paced the Tigers (4-16) with nine points. Alyssa Tucker added eight points