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Not perfectly healthy
Jackson girls basketball coach Sam Sides did not see many positives from his team's performance Thursday night against rival Central at the HealthSouth Holiday Classic at the Show Me Center.
Despite Sides' displeasure, top-seeded Jackson still came away with a 59-39 victory. The Indians improved to 8-0 and will play fifth-seeded Massac County (Ill.) in the quarterfinals at 7 p.m. tonight. Massac County slipped by fourth-seeded Dexter 60-58.
Sides said picking up a win is important, but he would have liked to see more.
"You'd like to play well. I don't think we're playing exceptionally well right now," he said. "We're going to have to play better than this, or we won't be in the winners bracket for long."
In other action, No. 2 Farmington beat No. 7 Perryville 68-57, and No. 6 Notre Dame defeated No. 3 Sparta (Ill.) 44-43 on a last second shot. Farmington will face Notre Dame in the other semifinal at 8:30 p.m. tonight. The championship game is set for 8:30 p.m. Monday.
Jackson, the defending champion, kept the eighth-seeded Tigers (0-7) around in the first quarter by missing several lay-ups. Central led twice early and trailed by only five points after the first quarter.
"We missed some easy shots too, but that's been typical of us," Sides said.
While the Indians were not shooting particularly well, they were able to continue to climb ahead of the Tigers using a balanced attack. Jackson got the ball down low to post players Amanda Peiffer and Loni Littlepage, who combined for 10 points in the opening half. Eight of Jackson's 10 players were on the board by halftime, as the Indians pushed ahead 30-16.
"We've got balanced scoring. We don't have to rely on one person," Sides said.
Central picked up its play in the third quarter, making an early run to get back into the game. Central made a 7-2 run to get within nine points at 36-25, but the Tigers could not hold the momentum. Jackson picked up its pressure and went on an 11-0 run to end the third quarter.
"We had some turnovers there. I think that was key," Central coach Amy Blattel said.
In the fourth quarter, Jackson kept Central at arms length. The Indians led by as many as 26 points before Central scored a couple of late baskets to put the final margin at 20.
Kelly Loos led Jackson with 13 points. Littlepage finished with 11 points, and Peiffer and Bobbie Jones had nine apiece.
Sides said one thing his team did well against Central was hit the boards.
"The thing we have done is we have kept teams to one shot," he said.
Katie Mothershead and Sonja Williams led Central with 12 points apiece. The Tigers will play Dexter at 4 p.m. today in the consolation bracket.
"I thought we did some things tonight much better than we had been doing, I saw some positives tonight," Blattel said.
Krista Miesner led Perryville (3-2) with 20 points in the Pirates' loss. Annette Weibrecht added 14 points and Amber Hacker scored 11. Perryville will face Sparta in the consolation bracket at 5:30 p.m.
Notre Dame's Amanda Essner hit a last-second shot to push the Bulldogs (3-3) past Sparta. Essner scored from down low after Merideth Medlin's shot was blocked. Amber Karnes led Notre Dame with 17 points.
Jackson 59, Central 39
CENTRAL (39) -- Katie Mothershead 12, Sonja Williams 12, Meg Yates 3, Dani Gross 2, Erica Schabbing 6, Courtney Schuessler 2, Gina Yarbrough 2. FG 17, FT 4-6, F 7 (3-pointers: Yates 1. Fouled out: none)
JACKSON (59) -- Kelly Loos 13, Loni Littlepage 11, Amanda Peiffer 9, Bobbie Jones 9, Kylie Werner 8, Lindsey Poole 3, Gabrielle Garritano 2, Kara Vangilder 4. FG 25, FT 5-8, F 11 (3-pointers: Poole 1, Loos 3. Fouled out: none)
Massac County 60, Dexter 58
MASSAC COUNTY (60) -- Jenni Grace 18, Jackie Jacobs 10, Josha Rogers 11, Destiny Mitchell 15, Brandi George 2, Hayley Hosman 3, Mallory Gentry 1. FG 20, FT 16-23, F 13 (3-pointers: Mitchell 3, Jacobs 1. Fouled out: none)
DEXTER (58) -- Mallory Kennedy 6, Molly Burleson 5, Jessica Fowler 6, Haylee Finch 4, Natalie Hayes 7, Rachel Blunt 17, Taylor Nelson 13. FG 24, FT 9-13, F 20 (3-pointers: Burleson 1. Fouled out: Burleson)
Farmington 68, Perryville 57
PERRYVILLE (57) -- Meghan Roth 4, Krista Miesner 20, Amber Hacker 11, Bethany Steffens 8, Annette Weibrecht 14. FG 19, FT 13-18, F 17 (3-pointers: Miesner 4, Weibrecht 2. Fouled out: none)
FARMINGTON (68) -- Cassie Tiefenauer 4, Erin Parks 4, Briley Milfeld 2, Julie Scnurbusch 5, Kristen Haye 11, Christina Johnson 9, Randie Woodridge 14, Natalie Hooss 19. FG 27, FT 13-19, F 17 (3-pointers: Tiefenauer. Fouled out: none)
Notre Dame 44, Sparta 43
NOTRE DAME (44) -- Merideth Medlin 8, Amber Karnes 17, Kristain Burger 9, Miranda Schlosser 2, Amanda Essner 4, Rachael Weidenbenner 2, Allison Toole 2. FG 19, FT 6-8, F 11 (3-pointers: none. Fouled out: none)
SPARTA (43) -- Brittni Peck 3, Kasey Claybourn 12, Lauren Buch 5, Liere Dancy 15, Chelsea Peck 2. FG 19, FT 5-11, F 14 (3-pointers: none. Fouled out: none)