The Ladue girls basketball team had a record-breaking regular season, winning 22 games.
"They shot the ball a lot better than I gave them credit for," Ladue Coach Cord Dockery said. "I was concerned coming into the game with their second and third shots."
But Tuesday night Nerinx Hall was hitting a lot of its first shots, especially Lexi Cochran. The junior guard scored 32 points.
"We just could not guard No. 45 (Cochran)," Dockery said. "We tried three different girls on her. She just had one of those games."
Things started well for the Rams, who scored the game's first seven points. But Cochran followed with a 10-point run of her own and Nerinx Hall never trailed after that.
The Markers led 31-20 at halftime and extended the lead to 19 points in the third quarter. The Rams battled back to get the deficit down to single digits by scoring the final 10 points of the third quarter, including a shot at the buzzer by Kiyerra Mems. But Ladue would get no closer than the nine points in the fourth quarter.
"Our outside shooting was never our strong point this year and they did a good job of packing it in and we didn't shoot it well and they were hot the whole game," Dockery said.
The post-season loss does not detract from the stellar 22-1 regular season.
"I am proud of what the girls accomplished both individually and as a team," Dockery said. "The seniors were a great group and gave us something to build on. We will miss them but we have a great group coming back."
Lauren Maclin, who was one of the seniors, was in tears knowing that she would never put on a Ladue uniform again.
"We thought we would go further than this," Maclin said. "But you have to give them credit. They played well and hit some great shots. It's tough to lose a game like this but I had so much fun this season. I love my teammates and I am going to miss them."
Taylor Robinson had 14 points and Mems added 11 to pace the Rams.
The Angels scored 20 points in the first quarter and were never challenged. The fourth quarter was played with a running clock.
"This is the fun time of year and where it all counts," Angels Coach Julie Matheny said. "I feel we are in a good spot but we were a little over-excited tonight. Our passing was a little slow."
Maddie Stock scored 16 of her game-high 20 points in the first half as St. Joe's led at the half, 37-15.
Sydney Stipanovich added 13 and Kate Ruppe 11 for the Angels while Hannah Wisebrod had 13 for the Bears, who had beaten Webster Groves 71-65 in the district opener Monday night.
Conference rivals St. Joe's and Nerinx Hall will play for the Class 5 District 3 title Friday at 7 p.m. It is a stand alone game as the boy's championship game will be played Saturday.
"We have a ton of respect for the Nerinx program," Matheny said. "Nerinx has improved a lot since the first time we played them. We will need to sharpen our pencils and come ready to play."
St. Joe's defeated Nerinx 78-44 on Dec. 12 as Maddie Stock scored 33 points. The Angels scored 72 points in the first three quarters of that game.