SOUTH HOLLAND | After getting a layup off the opening tip Tuesday in their Class 2A Seton Academy Regional opener against St. Francis de Sales, Illiana Christian looked for most of the rest of the first quarter like it might not score again.
Six turnovers and three missed shots – two blocked – followed. Not until the 3:27 mark of the period, when Jana Vree drove the baseline, were the Vikings able to add to Tiffany Groen's opening bucket.
"We were just sloppy, and they were kind of rough," Illiana guard Gabby Kreykes said. "We weren't expecting that. We just had to settle down."
The Vikings did so remarkably well, easing away for a 65-18 win. Kreykes had 16 points, seven rebounds and four steals.
The Vikings (11-16) advanced to a 7:30 p.m. Thursday title game against host Seton, a 74-20 winner over Carver in the opener. Illiana should expect more trouble from the Sting, which has been to the Supersectionals the last two seasons, than it got from the Pioneers (2-18).
"Seton's just so quick," Illiana coach Dave Bosman said. "No. 1, we'll have to stop the transition.
"We have to force them to beat us from the perimeter, we have to take care of the ball, and we can't depend on one or two players to dominate for us."
To that end, the win over de Sales may have been a good omen.
"I remember one other game this season where we saw the floor real good, like we did tonight," Kreykes said.
"Our ball movement tonight was one of the best times we've moved the ball as a team," Bosman added. "Everyone contributed today. Sometimes we kind of look to one or two people to do all the scoring, but not tonight."
Eleven players scored for the Vikings, six getting at least six points. Bria Cole had nine points to pace a bench brigade that totaled 35 of Illiana's points.
De Sales was led by Takhari Moore with five points.
Two-time defending regional champs, the Sting (16-8) rolled behind 15 points from senior guard Ebony Bailey. Freshman forward Brittany Hardeman added 14 points and senior center Mariah Cole 11.
Seton grabbed a 16-4 lead after one quarter then really blew it open in the second, outscoring Carver 23-3 to take a 39-7 halftime lead.
"We took this as a stepping stone," Sting coach Kevin Green said. "We want to go downstate, so we've got to win five games. We're 1-0."