SOUTH HOLLAND | There will be a Class 2A supersectional berth on the line Thursday when St. Francis de Sales meets Seton Academy on the Sting's home court.
Ideally, both teams will play well. Monday night, both teams survived.
Seton struggled while administering a 57-16 rout of Collins Academy in the opener. In the frantic nightcap, St. Francis scored a 55-45 victory over Mount Assisi of Lemont, a game that seemed closer.
"We didn't expect what we saw, but we fought through it," St. Francis de Sales shooting specialist Sharese Scott said. "Defense wins the games — and free throws, even though we missed a lot of them."
The Pioneers (13-12) were 13-of-48 from the free-throw line. A better percentage, and it would have been a laugher. Instead, the Eagles, even on a night that usual starter Mary Kate Wetzel was held out of the first quarter, hung around just enough to be a pest.
A 12-4 outburst in de Sales' favor in the first four minutes of the third quarter made the difference. Highlighted by a 3-pointer from Franchessca Gill, the run gave the Pioneers a 39-25 lead. From that point, it was up to the Eagles to play catch up. Instead, they were caught running a zone defense in the fourth quarter when a man-to-man was mandatory, and, for all their 24 fouls, failing to foul smartly.
De Sales had beaten Mount Assisi (6-26) by 26 points last month. This margin, aided by 15 points from Tyler Brown-Henderson, 13 from Gill and 11 from Scott, would do, for it advanced them to the sectional final against the host Sting.
"It's going to be a tough competition," Scott said. "Even though they didn't look great tonight, they're going to bring the heat, and we're going to bring it harder."
Seton Academy managed to look beyond sloppy in a 41-point rout of the Warriors, and coach Kevin Green wasn't pleased about it.
"And I told 'em this game is all over with," Green said. "We can't have another letdown or we'll be going home."
Even in scoring the first 17 points before Collins got on the board, the Sting didn't look great.
"We were playing down to our competition," Green said.
The Sting (23-8) were led by the 11 points and 10 rebounds from Desiree Jackson. Ebony Bailey added 10 points.
Seton led 39-6 after three quarters, after which Collins' Quatrica Hamilton scored six of her game-high 12 points. The Warriors close 12-9.