Sydney Stipanovich and Erin Nelson have accomplished many things during their brilliant high school basketball careers. But winning a Missouri Class 5 state title has not been one of them.
The Angels of St. Joseph’s Academy are 32-minutes away from winning their first title since 2004 and a 7th in school history. Their opponent will be either Columbia Rock Bridge or Blue Springs. They beat Blue Springs but lost to Rock Bridge earlier this year.
The duo of Stipanovich and Nelson blew the doors off the Cor Jesu Academy defense. The two combined for 37 points. Nelson had a game high 20 points; Stipanovich had 17 before both took a seat with two minutes left in the game.
What a night for Stpo, headed to the basketball program at the University of Pennsylvania next. In addition to the 17 points, she had 10 rebounds and 7 blocked shots, all of those coming in the first half.
Cor Jesu and St. Joe were tied at 17-all at halftime, then explicably John Neff’s Chargers went stone cold, scoring zero points in the third quarter. Only when Jenn Mayberger hit both ends of a 1 and 1 free throw opportunity did they end nearly an 11 minute drought and by then, the game was far out of reach.
St. Joe outscored the South County bunch 30-14 in the last 16 minutes of the game.
March has been kind to coach Julie Matheny of St. Joe. She’s personally made 10 trips to Columbia, first as a player, then assistant coach, then finally as head coach.
When she walked onto the floor at Ladue High in the district tournament earlier this month, she knew it was to be a possible six-game season. Six straight wins would mean her second state title personally and the 7th for the Academy.
The Class 5 title game at Mizzou Arena tips off at 8:40 p.m. tonight and will be shown live across the state on various outlets of the FOX Sports Network.
St. Joseph’s Academy: Erin Nelson 20 points, Sydney Stipanovich 17.
Cor Jesu Academy: Chaley Poth 13 points.