St. Joe's Defeats Lafayette In Sectionals
The Angels win 65-47 Wednesday night at UMSL and will take on Hazelwood Central Saturday in the Class 5 quarterfinals.
The first emotion obviously was one of joy as the Angels are just one game away from an appearance in the Class 5 final four. They play Hazelwood Central Saturday in the Class 5 quarterfinals at 2:45 at UM-St. Louis. The Hawks, who are 23-5, defeated Poplar Bluff 56-52 Wednesday night in Farmington.
But Stirmlinger also felt for some of the Lancer players. She played with Lafayette as a sophomore.
"I'm very close with a lot of them," Stirmlinger said. "It was weird playing old teammates but at the same time it was a lot of fun. I was pumped up and they are an awesome team. Defense is what wins at this time of the season and I felt we did a good job. We knew we had to slow down their guards."
The Lafayette backcourt of Jordynn Martin and Kayla Hall came into the game averaging over 30 points a game combined. They ended up scoring 26 but half of those came in the fourth quarter with the outcome no longer in doubt. In the first three quarters Martin and Hall were a combined 3-for-20 from the field.
"The first thing on our list today was to play good defense and to hit the boards and I felt we did a good job in those areas tonight," Angels coach Julie Matheny said. "Those girls are really good shooters and we did a good job of extending our defense and cutting off the passing lanes. We've had some trouble with teams which are smaller than us during the season. But we did a good job tonight."
The Angels limited Lafayette to one shot for the most part and got a strong inside game from Sydney Stipanovich. The 6-foot-3 post player converted eight of her 10 field goal attempts and also had a dozen rebounds.
St. Joe's also shot the ball well early in the game. Maddie and Morgan Stock combined for three 3-pointers in the first quarter and Stirmlinger added a pair in the second quarter.
The Angels jumped to a 12-3 lead and were never really threatened the rest of the game. St. Joe's led 34-20 at halftime. Lafayette got the lead down to 11 in the third quarter and had a good look at a 3-pointer. But it missed and St. Joe's turned it into a transition basket. The Angels would lead by as many as 21 points late in the game.
"They are a wonderful team and we knew we had a big challenge tonight," Lancer coach Jennifer Porter said. "We knew we needed to shoot it well and we did not although a lot of that has to do with them. Their length in the zone gave us problems.
"But this was still a good experience for the games. The gym was packed because (Chaminade star Bradley) Beal was playing and I am super proud of the girls. They are fighters."
And they are also all back as the Lancers did not have a senior in the lineup Wednesday.
"We are really excited about next year," Martin said. "Having an opportunity to play a team as good as St. Joe's will only make us better. They have five girls who can all score. Their shots were falling tonight and ours were not. We got some good looks but their long arms changed the direction of the passes. I loved the atmosphere here. This is where you want to be at this time of the year."
Lafayette, which finished at 17-9, was led by Martin who scored 15 points. Hannah Finley added 12 and Hall had 11.
Maddie Stock had 20 and Stipanovich added 16 for the Angels, who will take a 26-3 record, into Saturday's game against Hazelwood Central.