St. James takes its shot at a Class 3 state title starting Thursday in Columbia.

The Lady Tigers (25-4) advanced to the MSHSAA Class 3 semifinals by beating Ash Grove (24-6) Saturday in Springfield, 63-54.

St. James, one of two Four Rivers Conference teams in this week’s Classes 1-3 state tournament (New Haven is there in Class 2), takes on Cameron (19-11) Thursday at 5 p.m. at Mizzou Arena.

No matter what happens Thursday, St. James will play against either St. Charles Lutheran (26-4) or North Tech (20-6).

The championship game will be played Saturday at 1:20 p.m. while the third-place game takes place Friday at 1:40 p.m. Both are scheduled for Mizzou Arena.

St. James last reached the state semifinals in 2004-05 as a Class 4 team. The Lady Tigers lost to Lincoln College Prep in the semifinals, 56-43, before winning the third-place game over Jennings, 49-47.

St. James jumped on top of Ash Grove Saturday by netting the first 10 points on the way to go up 18-6 after one quarter.

Ash Grove rallied in the second quarter and the Lady Tigers led 30-26 at the intermission.

After three quarters, St. James led 41-35.

St. James was led by two players. Senior MJ Buschmann scored 25 points while sophomore Ashlee Marlatt exploded for 24 points.

Other scorers for St. James were sophomore Alexis Uffmann with seven points, freshman Shauna Rinehart with three points, sophomore Alison McDowell with two and juniors Amie Diestelkamp and Hannah Perona with one point apiece.

Madilyn Johnson was Ash Grove’s top scorer with 12 points.

Halee Cashio followed with 11 points.