A red-hot start to the game made all the difference for Pacific in defeating Sullivan in the championship semifinals Thursday at the Lindbergh Girls Basketball Tournament.
The third-seeded Lady Indians jumped to an 18-4 lead in the first five minutes and led 25-10 after the first quarter, which was enough to hold off second-seeded Sullivan, 51-45.
“It’s our biggest win of the season. Our stats from the game aren’t flashy, but everyone contributed,” said Pacific Head Coach Josh Spuhl. “Our girls were pumped for the game and were ready to play. We came out rolling.”
Pacific (13-3) played top-seeded St. Charles (18-1) in the championship game Friday at 7 p.m. The Lady Indians took a 10-game winning streak into the title contest.
Sullivan (14-2) played fifth-seeded Oakville (6-8) Friday in the third-place contest.
After scoring 25 points in the opening quarter, the offense slowed down as the Lady Indians combined to score 11 points in the second and third periods.
The Lady Eagles chipped away, trailing 30-21 at halftime and 36-29 after three quarters.
Sullivan pulled to within 42-37 with 3:40 left in the fourth quarter, but got no closer.
“We wanted to push the ball and the tempo, which plays to our advantage. The shots were falling in the first quarter,” Spuhl said. “We knew the first quarter wasn’t the end of the game. We had to keep fighting. The shots weren’t falling as much after the first quarter. Luckily, our defense was very good for the entire game.”
Kya Hill led Pacific in the scoring column with 18 points.
Abby Spuhl finished the game with 13 points.
Ashley Hill and Ellen Rogers both added five points. Lizzy Almo and Hunter Kelemen both scored four points. Meagan Wakefield had two points. Karlie King also played.
“Kya scored 18 points going against girls who were bigger and stronger. She played great. Abby was phenomenal. She hit some big shots,” Spuhl said. “The biggest upside for us was Ashley held (Sierra) Pryor to four points. Her defense was phenomenal.”
Kaitlynn Hill led Sullivan with 12 points. Taylor Lucas had 10 points.
“It was a great win. We want to keep going, especially with St. James coming up next week,” Spuhl said. “We have to focus on St. Charles,” Spuhl said. “I wish we had a day of practice to prepare, but they’re in the same boat.”
Pacific opened the tournament Tuesday with a 57-49 win over sixth-seeded Lindbergh.
With the score tied 44-44 after three quarters, the Lady Indians outscored Lindbergh 13-5 over the final eight minutes.
Pacific trailed 14-13 after one quarter and led 30-28 at halftime.
“Lindbergh came out firing. We were able to weather the storm,” Spuhl said. “I was very happy with how we finished the game.”
Almo collected 20 points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals.
Ashley Hill finished with 12 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Spuhl added eight points and five rebounds.
Kya Hill registered six points, five blocks and three rebounds. Rogers had five points and four rebounds.
Wakefield, Kelemen and King each scored two points. Wakefield also had three rebounds and two assists.
Frannie Shillato paced Lindbergh with 12 points. Lindsey Bozdeck added 10 points.
“Lizzy played a great game. She couldn’t be stopped,” Spuhl said. “Ashley stepped up big time on both sides of the ball. Kya was under the weather. Ashley stepped up big time for the team.”
Sullivan hammered seventh-seeded Northwest Tuesday in the opening round, 55-20.
The Lady Eagles held leads of 16-4 after one quarter, 39-12 at halftime and 48-20 after three quarters.
Sierra Pryor paced Sullivan with 16 points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Taylor Lucas finished with 12 points and seven rebounds.
Aley Lucas added eight points and four rebounds.
Hill and Demi Reed both scored six points. Hill added five rebounds. Reed had three steals.
Megan Brandt collected five points, five steals, four rebounds and four assists.
Jessica Heinle had two points, three assists and three steals. Tessa Johanning had two assists.