Calhoun's girls basketball team stands with its sectional championship plaque Tuesday. (Photo by Alison Godar)


June Zirkelbach led Calhoun with 20 points on Thursday in the sectional title game. (Photo by Alison Godar)


Calhoun's gym was rocking Thursday after the Warriors captured a sectional championship. (Photo by Alison Godar)

Grace Baalman grabs the ball in the sectional title contest. (Photo by Alison Godar)IHSA CLASS 1A GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP


HARDIN-CALHOUN 59, OKAWVILLE 33: Junie Zirkelbach had 20 points and Jordan Holland 15 as Hardin-Calhoun advanced to Monday night's Salem Supersectional against Goreville, 45-35 winners over Christopher in Thursday's Woodlawn Sectional final, with a 59-33 win over Okawville in Thursday night's IHSA Class 1A Hardin-Calhoun Sectional final.

The Warriors, the defending Class 1A state champions, moved to 26-5; the Rockets were eliminated at 23-7. The Calhoun-Goreville game is set for 7 p.m. Monday, with the winner moving into next Friday's Class 1A semifinals against the Illinois-Springfield Supersectional winner at 1 p.m.; the state final is set for 1 p.m. Feb. 25 at Redbird Arena on the Illinois State campus in Normal.

Calhoun got out to a 14-9 lead at quarter time and expanded it to 32-19 at the long break to run out winners on the night.

Grace Baalman had 11 points for the Warriors; Madison Hackstadt led the Rockets with 14 points.

Calhoun celebrates after the sectional championship win. (Photo by Alison Godar)

Calhoun head coach Aaron Baalman said his girls executed on both ends of the floor.

“The girls did an excellent job,” he said. “They had a chip on their shoulder and something to prove the last two weeks. They beat the No. 2 team in the state and the No. 10 team. That shows a lot about the girls and their work ethic. We are playing defense the way we should. We have always said defense wins basketball games in the post season.”

Junie Zirkelbach again was a leader for the Warriors on offense with her 20-point outburst.

“Junie had a nice game,” Coach Baalman said. “Grace had 11 points, 11 rebounds and five or six blocks. She controlled the game inside. Our speed offset their size. Our girls worked extremely hard on defense.”

Coach Baalman said at the present, his team is taking things one game at a time.

“I don’t know that much about Goreville, the team we will play in the Salem Super Sectional,” he said. “We will get busy tomorrow with a game plan for them. At this point in the season, we are just taking it one game at a time.”

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