ALTON — The Granite City Warriors had reason to smile when they left Alton High School on Tuesday. The Warriors left the school with a victory.
Granite City picked up its third win of the season after beating the Quincy Blue Devils 38-26 in a first-round Class 4A Alton Regional game.
“It was really exciting,” Granite City senior Abbie Daily said. “I think we worked really hard for it. We didn’t give up.”
Granite City outscored the Blue Devils 12-0 in the fourth quarter to advance to the regional semifinals against Edwardsville on Wednesday. It’s the second time this season the Warriors held an opponent scoreless in the final period.
“We don’t do that very often, so that was really awesome,” Daily said.
Four Granite City players scored on Tuesday. Senior Catherine Jakich scored a game-high 19 points, senior Melanie Joyce finished with nine, senior Malori Meador had seven and Daily scored three.
Joyce gave the Warriors (3-23) the lead for good with 6:28 left in the fourth quarter, when she scored a basket to give her team a 28-26 lead.
Senior Katie Bloodworth made a huge steal off the bench in the final seconds of the quarter. Bloodworth stole the ball from Quincy’s Bre Bordewick when Bordewick attempted to score a basket in the paint.
“That was exciting for her,” Joyce said. “I’m glad she got it.”
Joyce was also glad that her team celebrated a win in postseason play. Granite City was knocked out by Alton in the regional semifinals at home last year.
“It was a hard year for all of us,” Joyce said. “We came in hoping that we would do a little bit better, but we had some ups and downs this season. But it was nice getting able to get a win towards the end of our season, so that was really good for us.”
Quincy ended its season at 2-24. A year ago, the Blue Devils had no victories.
“We knew they were a lot like us just because of their record compared to ours,” Joyce said. “We had no clue about any of their players, their stats or anything.”
Quincy trailed the Warriors 22-15 at halftime, but rallied to take a 26-24 lead on a basket by senior Reagan Wellman with 1:24 left in the third quarter. Granite City outscored the Blue Devils 14-0 the rest of the game.
“I thought it was really good that we able to play a real tight zone and guard their best shooters to keep them from scoring inside,” Joyce said. “We really kept them shooting more outside shots than letting them get the ball inside. We tried to rebound more and that was our main priority.”
The Warriors beat Confluence Prep Academy 59-10 on Dec. 3 in the Orchard Farm (Mo.) Tournament for their first win of the season. In that contest, Granite City held Confluence scoreless in the fourth quarter.
The Warriors lost 15 straight games before beating the West Central junior varsity team 56-30 in the Carrollton Tournament on Jan. 26 for their second win of the year.
On Tuesday, Granite City, the No. 5 seed in the five-team regional tournament, ended a six-game losing streak with the win over the Blue Devils, the No. 4 seed.
“We came in just knowing that we needed to play hard and do what we can to get the win tonight,” Joyce said.