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Pantagraph staff

MOWEAQUA - The Epiphany Grade School girls basketball team used a solid defensive effort in the second half Tuesday to rally for a 36-31 victory over Springfield Blessed Sacrament in the semifinals of the Illinois Elementary School Association Class 7A State Tournament.

Epiphany, which trailed 22-19 at halftime, improved to 26-0 by outscoring Blessed Sacrament 17-9 in the second half. The Knights will face Effingham St. Anthony (23-1) at 7:30 p.m. in Thursday's title game. St. Anthony advanced with a 26-24 win over La Harpe.

"It was another great defensive effort by the whole team," said Epiphany coach Greg Reinhart. "We really shut them down in the second half and that's what won it."

Jess Reinhart led Epiphany with a game-high 16 points, five rebounds and three blocked shots. Allie Norton added 10 points for the Knights, including two 3-point baskets, and four steals. Chelsea Turner grabbed 10 rebounds for the Knights, and Emily Beoletto collected three assists and three steals.

"We were struggling offensively (in the first half), and defensively we weren't doing a good job covering their shooters," Greg Reinhart said. "We made some adjustments at halftime to control them. Once we got the lead we used our ballhandling and kind of ran a weave offense. We pulled them out of a zone and then we were able to execute our man-to-man offense."

Kasi Korza had 11 points for Blessed Sacrament (21-2), which will face LaHarpe (24-2) at 6 p.m. Thursday in the third-place game.

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