Defense was the "name of the game" or at least it was for the St. John-Hudson Lady Tigers in the first half of Thursday night's semi-final at St. John, as the Tigers completely dominated the La Crosse Leopards, taking a 22-3 first quarter lead and stretched it to 45-13 going into the half, the Tigers going on to win the game 57-28.
If you like perfection, then you would have enjoyed the way St. John handled the Lady Leopards in the first quarter. The Tigers were filling in the cracks on defense by checking off numerous times, allowing La Crosse just one good look at the basket.
Along with that, the Tigers forced 16 La Crosse turnovers in the quarter, with many of them leading to St. John scores.
Four of those scores came from St. John's big man Alexis Witt who made four baskets. Following her was the Tigers other big man, Teresa Christie who had two baskets. Jamie Waters made a 3-pointer as did Tia Smith.
The Tigers went into the second quarter leading 22-3.
St. John out-scored the Leopards 23-10 in the second quarter as Teresa Christie continued playing a dominant roll in the paint, adding seven points to her total. Waters made three baskets in St. John's transition game while Smith went perfect from beyond the arc (2-2), canning her second 3-pointer. Morgan Osborne also made a 3-pointer.
Not only did St. John's head coach Danny Smith bring in some of his freshmen off the bench in the second quarter, he freely substitued for the rest of the game, clearing his bench close to the start of the third quarter as his varsity girls mostly watched from the bench until the game's final outcome - the Tigers going on to Saturday's finals with the 57-28 win.
Scoring for St. John: Teresa Christie 17, Waters 11, Witt 10, Osborne 7, Smith 6, Tara Christie 2, Marsena Ervin 2, Breanna Towers 2.
Free throws: 1-5 for 20 percent - Teresa Christie 1.
Three point goals: 4 (Smith 2, Osborne 1, Waters 1).
Turnovers: St. John 13 - La Crosse 29.
Steals: St. John 21 - La Crosse 6.
Assists: St. John 19 - La Crosse 5.
St. John made 22-40 2-pointers for 55 percent. Overall the Tigers made 49 percent of their shots.
The Lady Tigers will play the Victoria Knights in the championship round Saturday evening. (Earier, Victoria defeated Kinsley in a close game 52-49.)