The Duchesne girls’ basketball team is one step closer to winning its second consecutive state championship.
The Pioneers defeated St. James 49-41 in the semifinal of the Missouri State High School Athletic Association tournament on Friday at Hearnes Center.
After trailing throughout most of the game, the Tigers rallied to tie the game at 34 with seven minutes remaining. Junior guard Jennifer Bowen sparked the charge for St. James, but Duchesne responded with a 9-0 run to secure the victory. Bowen finished with 20 points, leading all scorers.
“I was worried there for a little bit,” Duchesne coach Charlie Elmendorf said. “We struggled with their scorer (Bowens). She’s an awfully good player…but overall I thought we did a good job.”
The Pioneers controlled the area around the basket, out-rebounding St. James 31-20 and scoring from the post. Senior center Brittany Mannings led Duchesne with 16 points and 15 rebounds. Senior Abby Goellner added 14 points, most coming from the paint.
Mannings said the Pioneers felt at home at Hearnes Center, where Duchesne won last year.
“We like this court and we’re happy to back,” Mannings said. “I love the Hearnes Center.”