ST. CHARLES — Miller Career Academy's Shanity James was the best player on the floor Saturday afternoon as the Phoenix played St. Dominic in a Class 4 quarterfinal at Lindenwood University.
But with the talented 5-foot-11 sophomore on the bench in foul trouble, St. Dominic made its move and went on to a 52-41 victory.
It was the 23rd victory in succession for the Crusaders, ranked second among Post-Dispatch small schools. St. Dominic (25-3) will play the Borgia/Cape Girardeau Notre Dame winner in the semifinals at 3:20 p.m. Friday at Mizzou Arena.
The state trip is the Crusaders' second; St. Dominic finished fourth in 2007.
Miller Career, last year's third-place finisher at state, wrapped up a 20-7 season.
In last year's quarterfinal at Lindenwood, Miller Career knocked off St. Dominic 44-39, ending the Crusaders' season at 27-1.
"This was sweet revenge," said St. Dominic junior Jennifer Rocha, who scored a game-high 17 points while converting all nine of her free throws.
"At halftime, when we were still behind, all we thought about was last year," said sophomore Kelly Schneiders, who had 10 points and nine rebounds Saturday. "We knew we couldn't let that happen again.''
With James on the bench with her second foul, St. Dominic rallied to cut Miller Career's halftime lead to 20-18. She went to bench with foul No. 4 at the 4:24 mark of the third quarter. By the time James returned 2 1/2 minutes later, St. Dominic's pressure defense had keyed a 14-1 run and the Crusaders were in control.
Joining Rocha and Schneiders in double figures for St. Dominic was junior Leslie Wilmes (11 points). James scored 14 for Miller Career.
SOLDAN BOYS ROLL
Soldan senior Brier West scored 40 points as the Tigers shook off a slow start to blow past Moberly 84-59 in the boys game at Lindenwood.
"I've seen him score 40 before, but that's as complete a game as I've ever seen Brier play," Soldan coach Justin Tatum said. "He was making big plays all over the floor for us."
The Tigers, ranked fourth among area small schools, improved to 23-4 and will face the Borgia/Sikeston winner in Friday's semifinals at 6:40 p.m.
The state trip is Soldan's first since 1990.
Moberly (19-9) took advantage of Soldan's cold outside shooting to take a 14-13 lead into the second quarter. But eventually the Tigers came on strong.
"We were settling for the 3s — and missing them — instead of playing our game," Tatum said.
Added West: "Coach yelled at us a little and that helped to settle us down and get us back to our game. We love playing defense, and that's what got us going again today."
Brennen Hughes, Moberly's two-time all-state forward, finished with 29 points.