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BETHALTO – A quick start to a basketball game can certainly mean quite a bit for a team.

East St. Louis' Flyers can attest to that.

The Flyers stormed out of the gates against Civic Memorial in Thursday night's IHSA Class 3A CM Regional final, scoring the first 11 points of the game – seven from Rochelle Stanley – as they moved into next week's Carbondale Sectional with a 42-36 win over the Eagles. CM was eliminated with a record of 28-3, while the Flyers head to Carbondale with a 16-10 mark on the season.

The start of the game wasn't exactly what Eagle coach Jonathan Denney had envisioned for his team.

“It's kind of the nightmare you have in the back of your mind, but you don't think is going to happen,” Denney said. “We came out with some soft passes and they took advantage and jumped out, but I'll tell you what – our girls never quit; I thought for the rest of the game, we kind of controlled it – I thought we ran good sets, got good looks.

“I know the three didn't go in as much as we wanted it to, but it kept us in the game; Anna Hall got to the basket a few times there in the stretch run.”

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While the loss would certainly hurt for the moment, Denney told his players that, looking back at the entire body of work, they had much to be proud of. “I just told them 'we can look back at this in a week – you had a great season',” Denney said. “Unfortunately, this is going to be the scar; the wound will heal, but the scar is always going to be there. You just don't envision yourself going 5-for-18 (from the free-throw line) in a regional championship on your own floor.”

Right from the opening tip, the Flyers got out to a quick start, pressuring the Eagles all over the court and not letting them get a chance to get started; Stanley hit a pair of shots and a three-ball as part of East Side's opening blitz and before anyone in the building knew it, the Flyers had a significant lead. The Eagles came battling back and fot a couple of three-balls from Kaylee Eaton and Alaria Tyus – Tyus' coming at the siren – to pull back to 14-10 at quarter time.

CM kept coming, but each time they seemed to be ready to make a move, the Flyers came up with the answers, pulling away a bit to go into the locker rooms ahead 21-15 at the half. The Eagles continued to scrap and managed to pull to 26-22 midway through the third period, but the Flyers found ways to get the lead back to 28-22 before Alaria Tyus found the range from behind the arc to get CM to 28-25 right before three-quarter time, but Stanley hit from inside in the late going to get the Flyers to 30-25 at three-quarter time.

A Hall triple got the Eagles to as close as two points in the final quarter, but the Eagles could get no closer as the Flyers hit from the line to keep CM at bay down the stretch.

Alaria Tyus and Eaton led the Eagles with 11 points each with Hall contributing nine points on the night; Stanley led the Flyers with 16 points, with Darria Hicks and Shawnta Johnson each adding six points.

The Flyers will next meet Carterville, who defeated Murphysboro 50-44 to win their own regional Thursday night, at 6 p.m. Tuesday in a Carbondale Sectional semifinal; the final of that sectional is set for 7:30 p.m. Feb. 22, with the winner going to the Illinois-Springfield Super-Sectional at 7 p.m. Feb. 26 against the Lincoln Sectional champion.

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