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WIAA Regional Girls BB: St. Joseph 65, HOPE Christian 61

By Mike Johnson & Scott Koker (Kenosha News), 02/25/19, 8:30AM CST

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The St. Joseph girls basketball team relied on senior leadership to keep its season alive Tuesday night.

The 10th-seeded Lancers (6-16) edged seventh-seeded HOPE Christian 65-61 on the road in a Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Division-4 regional quarterfinal.

Senior Mary Furreness grabbed an offensive rebound and scored for the Lancers to even the score at 61-61. Senior Coreyonna Watts then hit a pair of free throws to give St. Joseph the lead for good, 63-61, with 35 seconds left.

“Our seniors stepped up big-time for us,” St. Joseph coach Jason Coker said.

Junior Katie Matrise put the game out of reach by knocking down a pair of free throws with five seconds left. She nailed 11 shots from the field and 7-of-8 free throws for a team-high 30 points. Watts added 10 points, and Furreness finished with nine.

The game remained tight throughout the first half, with the Lancers erasing a five-point deficit to tie the score at 27-27. After HOPE (14-8) built an eight-point lead in the second half, St. Joseph called timeout and evened the score again with an 8-0 run.

“I was very proud of our ladies tonight, as they fought back all game,” Coker said. “You have to love this time of year. The gym was so loud all game long, especially near the end.”

The Lancers will try to avenge a pair of regular-season losses to second-seeded Racine Prairie when the teams meet in a regional semifinal at 7 p.m. Friday.

“They should be proud, but when tomorrow comes tonight’s win means nothing,” Coker said. “We have to focus on Prairie. They have a great group of girls over there, and they have had our number this year and our ladies know that, too.”