ESL Lincoln, Sandburg and Marshall Win

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Byline: John Radtke Daily Herald Sports Writer

NORMAL - Down by 7 points at halftime, East St. Louis Lincoln coach Charles McDonald knew he had to calm his team down and get it back to basics.

"They were getting caught up in the moment," McDonald said. "The difference was to get them to relax."

And relax the Tigerettes did, and once they did it became apparent why the only Illinois team they have lost to this season is Marshall. East St. Louis Lincoln won 56-49.

Lincoln (27-2) fought back from that 24-17 halftime deficit, finally tied the game nine seconds into the fourth then came out on the victorious end of a fourth quarter that had six ties and six lead changes.

Lincoln takes on Sandburg (32-3) in today's second semifinal.

"Their quickness got to us," said Quincy coach Tom Berry. "We slowed up in the second half and their quickness got through our press."

In the first half, though, Quincy (25-6) was able to control Lincoln, a team averaging 68 points a game, with a stifling press that caused the Tigerettes 12 turnovers.

But once Lincoln caught up in the second half, the Tigerettes were able to slow down high-scoring Quincy forward Ruth Kipping, holding her to just 4 of her 23 points in the fourth quarter.

"It was really physical out there and it really tired me out at the end," said the Michigan-bound Kipping. "I was having a tough time getting back defensively."

Lincoln sealed the game by hitting 9 of 11 free throws in the second half compared to Quincy's 5 of 11.

"That was the key," said Berry.

Rita Adams, who made 5 of 6 from the line in the second half, led Lincoln, which is trying to become the first downstate team since 1986 to win the state title, with 23 points. Lakeisha Cole added 15, including a field goal with 40 seconds to play that gave Lincoln the lead for good.

Morgan Anderson added 10 points for Quincy, which was making its first appearance in the Elite Eight.

- John Radtke

Sandburg 37, Morris 29

Sandburg proved Monday night, when it held Hinsdale Central to 23 points in the York supersectional, that it could play defense.

In its quarterfinal win over Morris on Friday, the Eagles showed that defense once again.

Sandburg (32-3) limited Morris (28-3) to just 9 points in the first half then held on for dear life at the end to gain a 37-29 win and advance to today's second semifinal opposite East St. Louis Lincoln.

Friday was the 25th time in 35 games this season Sandburg has held its opponent under 40 points and the eighth time the Eagles have allowed less than 30 points in a game.

"We scouted (Morris) thoroughly," said Sandburg coach Gary Bonk, whose team will bring home a state trophy in its first Elite Eight appearance. "They like to score 80 points a game and we don't score 80 points in a week.

"We knew we had to stop their fastbreak and neutralize their inside game."

Sandburg jumped on top 11-0, holding Morris scoreless until there was 2:21 left in the first quarter.

"That was the difference," said Bonk. "Morris looked a little tighter than we did at the start."

Morris made several comeback attempts in the second half, cutting the lead to 7 five different times and to 5 at 33-28 with 1:07 to play. …