PALOS HEIGHTS | St. Francis de Sales junior forward Isis Mance looked at the banners hanging in the school's gymnasium, and saw all the sectional banners celebrating the boys basketball program.
She had one thought.
"Man, we got to get one of those up there, too," she said Monday night after leading the Pioneers girls basketball team to a 32-27 Class 2A sectional semifinal victory over Westmont at Chicago Christian High School.
Monday's was the first sectional game win in Pioneers' girls basketball history. St. Francis de Sales (17-10) will face the winner of tonight's semifinal -- either Chicago Hope or Aurora Central Catholic -- in the 7:30 p.m. sectional championship game Thursday.
"I'm so proud of the girls right now, I can't even express it," Pioneers coach Terrence Streater said.
St. Francis de Sales overcame poor first-half shooting, which included missing each of their 14 3-point attempts. Mance scored all eight of her points in the second half of the defensive battle.
"It was a physical game," said Mance, who also came up with nine rebounds and three blocks. "Everybody tried to slow us with their pushes and elbows, but we played through it."
The Pioneers trailed the Sentinels at halftime, 16-10, but went on an eight-point run late in the third quarter to take the lead for good. Junior guard Brianta McMorris scored three field goals during the run, including a coast-to-coast drive with 55 seconds left in the third quarter to give the Pioneers a 24-18 lead.
As the fourth quarter hit the midway mark, the Pioneers slowed down the game with each possession. Westmont (19-12) trailed 30-25 with less than a minute left in the game.
McMorris scored all of her 10 points in the second half, and the Sentinels were unable to make a basket the remainder of the game, settling for a pair of free throws in the final seconds.
"We made some adjustments at halftime, like going to a 2-3 zone," Streater said. "That threw them off a little bit. And on the offensive end, we just made shots."
Tyler Brown-Henderson added eight points to the Pioneers' winning effort, while the Sentinels were led by 12 points from Amanda Anderson.