MANITO - The No. 6-seeded Midwest Central High School girls basketball team took No. 2 Central Catholic out of its full-court press Thursday night.
So the Saints went to Plan B, forced 19 turnovers and came away with a 42-38 triumph in the title game of the Midwest Central Class A Regional.
Plan B was a man-to-man half-court defense, which shut down the hosts' passing lanes.
"Half-court defense is something we haven't done much of," said Saint coach Debbie Coffman. "It was good to see our kids do that tonight. They had to do it. They (Midwest Central) were taking us out of our press."
Central Catholic improved to 17-11 while winning its fourth consecutive regional and 16th in school history. They face No. 7-seeded El Paso-Gridley (19-7) at 8 p.m. Monday in the Central Catholic Sectional semifinals.
"To hold a team to 38 points - a good shooting team - is really nice for our kids to do tonight," Coffman said.
Midwest Central, which also fell to the Saints 53-41 Dec. 10, ended the season 16-11.
Stacey Miller led the Saints with 14 points and five rebounds.
"She has been such a great leader," Coffman said.
The game was tied at 31-31 with 3:53 left when Jackie Atkins' 16-foot shot put the Saints ahead to stay.
"For (Atkins) to take that shot and hit it was awesome," Coffman said.
"She has been struggling a little, but she really came through in the clutch," Miller said of Atkins. "She really played her heart out tonight."
Amanda Murray followed with an inside basket before Atkins, who finished with eight points, added a free throw and Miller two charity tosses to make it 38-31 with 1:06 left.
The Raiders never got closer than the final margin despite a 3-pointer by Noelle Reining, the state's reigning Queen of the Hill 3-point shooting champion.
Midwest Central committed three turnovers and missed three shots during the Saints' surge to go up 38-31.
"Defensively, they took us out of a lot of things," said Midwest Central coach Harry Seward. "They pushed us out pretty far from the basket trying to run an offense."
Hope Grebner paced Midwest Central with 11 points and seven rebounds. The Raiders outrebounded their guest, 35-26, including 21-11 in the first half. Jessi Kohn led Central with six rebounds.
"In the locker room (at halftime), that's all we talked about is we had to rebound," said Coffman, who got offensive rebound baskets from Jacqui Reinhart and Atkins to take a 30-26 lead in the fourth quarter.
The Saints shot 36 percent from the field compared to 34 percent for Midwest Central, which played a match-up zone.
Central, which shot 7-of-15 at the line, held the ball the final minute of each of the first three quarters before scoring with six or fewer seconds left. Miller did it twice and Kohn once.
"We run that a lot," Coffman said. "We're like, 'Oh, is it ever going to work.' Tonight it did work."
The Saints only had nine turnovers and none the final 11:22.
"They had a lot to play for trying to get back to their own sectional," Seward said. "They accomplished it."