LADUE • Nerinx Hall blew some comfortable leads en route to losses in a couple of big conference games recently.
The Markers weren’t about to let a sizable advantage get away from them in a Class 5 District 2 semifinal game with host Ladue on Monday.
Led by seniors Maddie Simonds, Abbie Marshall and Kenzie Yess, Nerinx Hall turned an eight-point third quarter lead into a 20-point bulge in the fourth quarter and then fought off a late charge by the Rams on the way to a 68-60 win.
The Markers (17-10, No. 9 in the STLhighschoolsports.com large-schools rankings) advance to play No. 2 St. Joseph’s in the final at 7 p.m. Thursday.
“We have definitely worked hard to not (struggle down the stretch) again,” said Marshall, who had 15 points. “We were really focused. We really wanted to get to the St. Joe game to have that opportunity.”
They’ll get that chance thanks a lot to the effort of Simonds. She had a team-high 17 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Markers.
Ladue (18-8) was led by Temple University recruit Taylor Robinson, who tallied a game-high 24 points.
Simonds scored a conventional 3-point play to ignite a 19-7 run that helped the Markers inflate a 45-37 lead to 64-44 with a couple minutes left in the game. That run did in the Rams.
“It feels great,” Simonds said of the win. “We’re so excited. We were ready to do this.”
The Markers, who had lost three of their last four games coming into the contest, shot the ball very well in the contest. They made 26-of-54 shots from the floor and 16-of-20 from the charity stripe.
Helped by some solid inside play from Taylor Robinson and stellar outside shooting from Kaitlynn Walker, the Rams led the majority of the first quarter, including 20-18 at the end of the first eight minutes of play.
Nerinx was able to force some turnovers and get its transition game going in the second quarter, however. The Markers tied the Rams at 22 early in the second quarter and finished the half on a 17-9 run to take a 39-31 lead at intermission.
“Once we started to kind of settle in and really hit our spots. ... we were able to get some steals, some deflections and stops, and at the same time, we were capitalizing on the offensive end,” Nerinx coach Mike Slater said.
Ladue showed it could play with the Markers for the majority of the contest.
“We did some good things,” Ladue coach Cord Dockery said. “We did some things we wish we could take back. I think we gave them too many second chances. They’re big, they’re long and I think that’s what it came down to was too many second chances.”
The Rams, who also got 15 points from Walker, finished the game on a 13-2 run to make it interesting.
“We fought hard,” Dockery said. “I take my hat off to my girls. They fought right to the bitter end.”
In other girls district games on Monday. …
ST. JOSEPH’S 60, RITENOUR 31 • The Angels outscored the Huskies 45-16 in the first half and coasted from there to an easy win in the other Class 5 District 2 semifinal at Ladue.
“I’m thrilled with the way we came out and executed offensively and defensively,” St. Joe’s coach Julie Matheny said. “At this point in the season, it’s do or die. I thought the girls were ready to take care of business.”
Erin Nelson led the Angels (19-5) with 16 points. Sydney Stipanovich (12) and Mary Barton (10) also scored in double figures for St. Joe’s.
The Huskies (19-7) were led by Donshel Beck, who had 19 points.
PARKWAY CENTRAL 52, PATTONVILLE 37 • The host Colts outscored the Pirates in every quarter to help them advance in Class 5 District 4 play.
Parkway Central will play Parkway North, which beat Parkway West 62-38 in the other semifinal Monday, in the final at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
Christie Bergesch led the Colts (19-7, No. 10 LS) with 24 points. Zoe Wallis added 12 for Parkway Central.
The Pirates (12-12) were led by Nikki Callahan, who had 15 points.
KIRKWOOD 46, LINDBERGH 42 (2 OT) • Catie Harding scored a game-high 16 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to help power the Pioneers to a double-overtime win over the Flyers in a Class 5 District 5 tournament quarterfinal game at Vianney.
No. 4 seed Kirkwood (15-12) advances to play No. 1 seed Webster Groves in a semifinal game at 7 p.m. Thursday.
The Pioneers trailed 33-28 heading into the fourth quarter. However, they outscored the Flyers 10-5 to send the game into overtime. After the first overtime ended with the score tied at 40, Kirkwood outscored Lindbergh 6-2 in the second overtime to pull out the win.
Angela Black and Sara Schraut led Lindbergh (13-13) with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
FRANCIS HOWELL CENTRAL 49, FORT ZUMWALT EAST 42 • Katy Gerler scored a game-high 19 points and Emma Raup added 13 points to lead the host Spartans to a win in a Class 5 District 7 quarterfinal.
No. 4 seed Howell Central (11-15) advances to play No. 1 seed Fort Zumwalt South in a semifinal game at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Zumwalt East (6-18) was led by Mallori Hellrich, who tallied 17 points, and Brittany Tackett, who chipped in with 12.