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Play smart. Play under control.
Coal City coach Brad Schmitt isn’t asking anything out of the ordinary of his Coalers.
But with his entire starting lineup in first-half foul trouble Tuesday night, Schmitt needed his message to be taken to heart more than ever against Lincoln-Way West.
“We talked about staying aggressive, but sometimes giving up an open layup is better than a cheap foul,” Schmitt said. “Defending their weave isn’t easy, and they’re a lot quicker than us. We tried to keep in front of them in the second half, and good things happened.”
Playing aggressive but smart, host Coal City used an impressive third-quarter effort to pull away for good in a 57-38 win in a Class 3A Coal City Regional semifinal.
The Coalers (23-6) will play Joliet Catholic at 7:30 p.m. Thursday for the regional title. Lincoln-Way West closed at 12-14.
Emily Halliday led the Coalers with 21 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Donjeta Shabani (11 points, 11 rebounds) and Britta Spelde (13 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists) also contributed for the winners.
Holding an eight-point halftime lead despite its foul troubles, Coal City did just what Schmitt asked in the third and played smart. Six different players scored in the quarter, the Coalers outscoring West 15-9.
Halliday hit an early three and added a late bucket on a fast-break pull-up jumper to help build a 40-26 lead.
“We had to play off our girl, play smart and hope for help on the backside (defensively),” Halliday said. “We had to stay out of more foul trouble.”
The Coalers defense helped force 10 third-quarter West turnovers.
Halliday scored Coal City’s first 12 points of the game.
“Most of our plays are for me to cut and Nicole Borgetti to shoot,” Halliday said. “My teammates were able to find me, especially Britta, and I was able to finish.”
Danielle Morgan (16 points) and Amanda Hozzian (7 points, 8 rebounds) led West.
“A clunker on offense and defense,” Warriors coach Ryan White said. “Coal City did a good job keeping us out of the lane.
West finished 11-of-46 from the field and 3-of-19 from three-point range.
Joliet Catholic 66, Providence 48: Jasmine Lumpkin (20 points), Nicole Ekhomu (15), Trevonya McClain (14) and Mary Susan Rouse (12) led Joliet Catholic (23-4). Alyssa Jurges and Maeve Garvey scored 11 points apiece for Providence (14-18).