Meridian's unbeaten season continued on Monday after a win over Tri County in the first round of the MUDECAS Tournament.
The second-seeded Mustangs beat the seventh-seeded Trojans 51-40 and will now play Exeter-Milligan at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday in the semifinals.
Meridian started off hot, building an 11-0 lead in the first quarter, but Tri County wouldn't go away. They were able to steadily chop into that lead throughout the second and third quarters and cut the deficit to two at one point in the third quarter.
The Mustangs proved to be too much, though, as they slowly built that lead back up in the fourth quarter for the 51-40 win.
Meridian coach Robert Schropfer said it was a good thing his team got off to a great start.
"Tri County really played well tonight," Schropfer said. "They shot it from the three point line incredibly well in the second quarter and that's what got them back in the ball game. Thank God we got off to a great start and built an 11-0 lead because we ended up only winning by 11. If we don't do that early, who knows what may have happened."
Jaicee Sobotka led the way for Meridian with 21 points while Erin Johnson also had a big night with 18 points.
"Jaicee shot the ball as well as what she has for about five games," Schropfer said. "She is just a pure shooter and a great ball player and it was exciting to see her have a nice game. Erin just does it all and she's a competitor. She takes it to the hole, she plays good defense and gets steals for us and I thought she had just a really good all around ball game."
Meridian exploded out to an 11-0 lead in the first quarter. Halle Pribyl got the team rolling with a three point play and Erin Johnson followed that up with two free throws to make it 5-0.
Back-to-back three pointers by Jaicee Sobotka extended the Meridian lead to 11-0.
Tri County would get back onto it by going on a 10-4 run to make it 15-10, but the Mustangs would lead 17-10 after the first quarter.
Johnson opened up the second quarter with a three pointer, but Tri County's Shayna Lijewski answered with a three pointer to make it 20-13.
Meridian would maintain a 25-15 lead, but Tri County scored six of the next eight points to make it 27-21.
They would cut the deficit to 31-27 after Shaylee Niemeyer hit a three pointer just before half time.
Jaicee Sobotka opened the second half scoring with a three pointe, but Tri County's Shae Wattjes came back with a three point play. She then scored again on the Trojans' next possession to make it 34-32.
Two free throws by Jaicee Sobotka and five straight points by Johnson to end the third quarter re-exteded the Mustang lead to 41-32.
Jaicee Sobotka opened the fourth quarter with a three pointer to make it 44-32. Tri County got within nine in the fourth quarter, but never closer as they went on to win 51-40.
"I thought we did a better job boxing out in the fourth quarter," Schropfer said. "In the first half, their post players were hurting us inside and then they knocked those threes down. Thankfully, they cooled down from the three point line, which allowed us to focus on their inside players more and we did a good job rebounding."
In addition to Sobotka and Johnson, Hailey Schafer had four points, Halle Pribyl had three points, Josiee Sobotka had two points and Adeline Beals had one point.
Tri County was led by Kailey Weichel's 14 points while Madison Freese had nine points and Brianna Connelly had six points. Shae Wattjes had five points and Shayna Lijewski and Shaylee Niemehyer had three points each.
The Lady Trojans will play in a consolation game on Friday 8 p.m. against Diller-Odell at SCC.
Schropfer said he looks forward to the semifinals against Exeter-Milligan.
"They certainly want to get up and down the floor and they shoot the ball quick in their offense," Schropfer said. "I look for it to be a fast paced exciting game."
Exeter-Milligan 54, Diller-Odell 37
Exeter-Milligan's defensive pressure created a lot of scoring opportunities in their opening round win over Diller-Odell in the MUDECAS A Division.
The Timberwolves came into the tournament ranked No. 2 in Class D2 and seeded third in the tournament. They defeated sixth-seeded Diller-Odell 54-37.
Katherine White led the way for Exeter-Milligan with 19 points while Kate Jansky had 14 points.
The Lady Griffins were able to hang tough in the first half, just trailing 13-12 in the first quarter. A 12-3 run in the middle of the second quarter allowed Exeter-Milligan to stretch their lead to 27-17 and they would lead at half time 29-21.
The Griffins cut the deficit to seven early in the third quarter, but they never got any closer. They trailed 41-26 after three quarters before falling 54-37.
In addition to White and Jansky, Tara Mueller had eight points, Anna Sluka and Hannah Beethe had four points each, Kayla Geiger had three points and Kelsey Bigelow had two points.
Addison Heidemann led Diller-Odell with 10 points while Hayley Denner had eight points and Camaryn Gydesen had seven points. Mackenzie Vitosh had four points, Emily Swanson and Kirsten Bures had three each and Tori Smith had two.
With the win, Exeter-Millican advances to the semifinals at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday against Meridian/Tri County. Diller-Odell will face Tri County in a consolation game at 8 p.m. on Friday.
Sacred Heart 49, Freeman 30
Falls City Sacred Heart advanced to the semifinals with a win over Freeman Monday night.
The top-seeded Lady Irish defeated the eighth-seeded Falcons 49-30 and will now play at 5 p.m. on Thursday against the winner of Monday’s late game between BDS and Johnson-Brock.
Sacred Heart jumped out to a 19-5 lead in the first quarter against Freeman and never relinquished it.
Sara Wetenberger led the Irish in scoring with 15 points while Mckenzie Witt had 11, Abby Fiegner had nine, Randee Witt had six, Elizabeth Keithley had five and Ahren Ebel and Lauren Parish had two each.
Addi Dorn led Freeman with 10 points while Brylie Hartwig had seven, Abby Mason had four, Sadie Meyer had three and Macy Holland and Ashley Oltman had two each.
The Falcons will now play in a consolation game on Friday at 6:30 p.m.