Deshler wins girls 4A semifinals 70-34 over Saint James

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Deshler’s Tigers downed Saint James 70-34 in the Class 4A girls’ semifinals Tuesday at the BJCC Legacy Arena to advance to the state finals for the second year in a row. Deshler has seven state championships overall and are making their fourth straight appearance in the AHSAA Class 4A state basketball championship game. Overall, the Tigers have reached the finals 11 times in school history since 1985.
       Senior center Karleigh Sledge led Tuesday’s victory with 15 points, eight rebounds and seven blocked shots. Annie Sparks added 14 points, including four 3-pointers, for Coach Jana Killen’s Tigers (33-2). Taylor Aikerson had 12 points and Shamari Thrilkill had 10.
      Saint James (25-7), coached by Katie Barton, got 14 points from  Micala Fisanick. The senior  went over 1,000 points for her career in the semifinals, finishing her stay at Saint James with 1,008 points. She also played two years at Ponce de Leon (FL).  Annie Skoneki also had five rebounds and three assists for the Trojans.
     Killen, who owns a 735-160 career record, has directed all but one of Deshler’s past state championships, winning four in a row from 2003-06 and titles in 2015 and 2016. The Class 4A girls’  finals at the 96th AHSAA State Basketball Championships will tip off Friday at 4 p.m.
    Wednesday’s state tournament schedule features Classes 6A girls’ and boys’ semifinals in the first session and 5A semifinals in the afternoon. The Class 7A semifinals will be Thursday morning. Championship games begin Thursday afternoon with Class 1A. The remaining 12 state championship games will be Friday and Saturday.

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