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REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP ACTION

UP AND OVER – Fieldcrest’s Addie Goodrich rises above Olympia defenders Mary Cleinmark (left) and Colby Burt (right). Goodrich scored 17 points to lead the host Knights to the program’s first title with a 51-48 triumph (For the Journal/TNT Photo).

MINONK - For nearly three decades, the Fieldcrest girls' program was searching for a regional crown. That came to fruition Thursday evening, as the Knights edged Olympia 51-48.

“This program has been waiting 27 years for one,” said Fieldcrest coach Mitch Neally of a title. “When I took over four years ago, I told the girls we need to get one up in the rafters. I’m so proud of this team. They’ve overcome a lot of adversity. This group of girls worked their tails off. They’ve bought it and they believe in each other.”

Hannah Baker's traditional three-point play (basket plus free throw) gave the Knights a 49-48 lead with 11.5 seconds left. Alyx Carls made a pair at the charity stripe with 1.8 remaining to make it 51-48.

Addie Goodrich had 17 points for Fieldcrest (20-11), while Colby Burt's 18 paced the Spartans (18-13).

Fieldcrest advances to the Beardstown Sectional Monday at 7:30 p.m. There, they'll face Midwest Central/Delavan (24-5), who eliminated Knoxville 50-47 on the former's home floor.

 Notes: The Knights lost their three previous regional championship appearances, two of which came to Peoria Christian. The 20-win season was the second for Fieldcrest. The other was a program-best 23 two years ago.

See article on Feb. 14 Woodford County Journal newsstands

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