HIGHLAND - St. Mary's Catholic School eighth-grade basketball girls pulled out their biggest win of the season in a Class S SIJHSAA Regional 5 semifinal final game Thursday at Highland, winning 32-30 over Albers Damiansville to advance to Friday night's championship at St. Paul School. St. Mary's improves to 21-0 on the season with the victory.

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Grace Fischer led St. Mary's with 10 points, Reese Bechtold had eight points, Izzi Hough had six points, Ava Hernandez had three points, Alex Stephan, Mia Lopez, and Lilly Harrington each had two points.

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St. Mary's head coach Bryan Bechtold said it was "a great atmosphere and good defensive battle" on Thursday night.

"Our girls were resilient and played a physical game," he said. "All the girls brought a ton of energy. Everybody got in there and made big contributions. I am proud of this group."

St. Mary's plays at 6:30 p.m. against All Saints Academy in Breese at St. Paul School in Highland. The winner advances to the state finals at Rend Lake College next week.

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