CARLYLE — The fourth meeting of the '14-15 season between the Roxana and East Alton-Wood River girls' basketball teams went the same way as the first three — with the Shells prevailing.
Roxana bested the Oilers 55-42 in the opening round of the Class 2A Carlyle Regional on Monday. The Shells improved to 16-11 with the win and advance to play second-seeded Wesclin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Carlyle. EA-WR concluded its season 4-21.
Roxana head coach Tammy Talbert knew she wanted the Shells to start fast on Monday and that's exactly what they did. Roxana hustled out to an 8-2 lead and owned a 24-9 advantage after one quarter on the way to the victory.
“We needed to have a good first quarter. We needed to make a statement,” Talbert said. “That's kind of what we did the first couple times we played them. We had a really good first quarter, causing them to turn the ball over some. Things went really well in the first quarter.”
After losing 58-34 and 56-29 in their first two meetings with the Shells, the Oilers dwindled it to 47-43 in the third meeting in Wood River on Jan. 19. Unfortunately they weren't able to duplicate that effort when it counted the most on Monday in the regional.
“We had a lot of hype around our (home) game. We had breast cancer awareness night and that's kind of big for the girls and stuff like that and we played with much more intensity,” EA-WR head coach Mark Maendele said. “I've struggled with coaching urgency. I preach it and preach it and we go through it in practice and we seem to do it in practice, but when it comes time to apply it we come up short.”
Maendele credited the Shells for playing with more urgency on Monday.
“We came in and weren't focused,” Maendele said. “We did a walk through before coming in and thought we'd be a little better prepared, but we were not. We didn't shoot well from the free throw line, we didn't shoot well from the field and we didn't have very good intensity.
“We got down there in that first quarter and Roxana never looked back. This was not our best game by far.”
Roxana senior Maddy Sheraka poured in a game-high 22 points, bringing her school-record point total to 1,323. She echoed the same sentiment as her coach Monday, start fast and don't look back. Sheraka was one of three Shells in double figures, joined by 13 points each from Erica Sheets and freshman Hannah Rexford.
“I definitely think that we came out really strong,” Sheraka said. “That’s what got us ahead and we were able to get them down and kind of out of their play into our play.”
Five Shells scored in the opening quarter, with Sheraka netting 10 of their 24 points.
A slow second quarter saw Roxana only outscore EA-WR 8-6, but take a commanding 32-15 lead into the locker room. A traditional 3-point play by Courtney Beneke of the Oilers before the break kept them within 20 points.
EA-WR provided a better effort in the second half, tying the Shells 12-12 in the third quarter and keeping the deficit at 15 points at 44-27 after three.
The Oilers then outscored Roxana 15-11 in the fourth quarter. They outscored their rival 27-23 in the second half, but it wasn't enough to erase the quick start by the Shells. Senior Brandi Lacey scored eight of her team-high 14 in the second half. Fellow EA-WR senior Kari Westbrook also reached double figures in her final game with 10 points. Beneke, a junior, scored 12 points.
“Westbrook always has intensity, she's always 110 percent,” Maendele said. “Brandi Lacey played a real good game attacking the basket, so I want to tip my hat to her, but it takes more than two players playing 110 percent.”
EA-WR also says goodbye to senior Mardelia Bolden, who scored two points Monday.
If there was one thing Talbert would have liked to see go differently, it was limiting the Oilers' second chances. EA-WR was able to grab some offensive rebounds and have second chance attempts, they just weren't able to capitalize on them.
“Weak-side rebounding, it seemed like we couldn't get that weak-side rebounding in the first half,” Talbert said. “They really had some and I think we gave them three or four opportunities and they never scored and never scored. If they would have been able to score then it would have been a little different.”
Now the Shells turn their attention to Wesclin (17-10) and Talbert knows it won't be an easy task.
“I know they are going to be a handful,” Talbert said. “They're big, they're physical, they're a well-rounded basketball team. I told the kids to get a good night's rest tonight and we'll come in tomorrow and I'll have some stuff for them and we'll prepare for about 30 minutes before we get on the bus and hope for the best.”
Sheraka added, “With tomorrow there's not much time to prepare, so we'll have a quick walk through and hopefully we come out strong again and shock some people.”
The regional finals are set for 7 p.m. Thursday at Carlyle.
CLASS 2A CARLYLE REGIONAL
ROXANA 55, EA-WR 42
Roxana 24 8 12 11 — 55
EA-WR 9 6 12 15 — 42
ROXANA (16-11) — Maddy Sheraka 22, Hannah Rexford 13, Sara Kreutztrager 5, Erica Sheets 13, Abby Palen 2. 2FG — 20 3FG — 3 FT — 6 PF — 15
EA-WR (4-21) — Kari Westbrook 10, Brandi Lacey 14, Courtney Beneke 12, Carly Campbell 4, Mardelia Bolden 2. 2FG — 11 3FG — 4 FT — 7 PF — 9