TAKE A LOOK: Quick preview of the Class 5 state championship game

Mar. 18—The Carl Junction girls basketball team earned a spot in the finale of the 2023 Show-Me Showdown for Class 5 schools inside the Great Southern Bank Arena in Springfield.

The Bulldogs (30-1) did so by outlasting Notre Dame of Cape Girardeau 37-33. Its opponent in the championship 8 p.m. Saturday, Lutheran St. Charles, advanced in much different fashion.

The Cougars (26-5) skated past the Zizzers of West Plains with a 71-50 victory. Lutheran is on a roll coming into the contest. In its last five games, the average margin of victory has been 27.8 ppg. The team is scoring 61 ppg in those contests and is limiting opponents to low 30s.

Carl Junction has seen a much different past two games. After Class 5 District 7 tournament wins of 71-22, 68-37 and 67-42, the Bulldogs have had two straight nail-biters in the state tournament.

Before Friday's 4-point win over Notre Dame, they beat Lincoln College Prep 55-51 in the quarterfinals.

Back to Lutheran, its defensive average of keeping teams in the low 30s the past five games is true to its season average as well. The Cougars have allowed just 34.8 ppg on the season while scoring 60.7.

Carl Junction has outscored opponents by an average of 19 ppg. The Bulldogs have scored an average of 62.6 during the 2022-23 campaign. They've surrendered 43.8.

It's no secret that CJ has rattled off 25 wins in a row since losing to 2023's Class 5 champion in Oklahoma, Sapulpa, back in November. Lutheran had won its last two contests heading into postseason and has pushed that streak to seven now.

Head coach Brad Shorter noted the physicality that Notre Dame brought to Friday's game. That physicality played a role in CJ's game. Leading scorer and senior, Destiny Buerge, was limited to 7 points. Showing their ability to find production from other capable scorers, junior Kylie Scott tallied 14 while sophomore Dezi Williams added 11.

Shorter has noted all season that Buerge and Scott draw a lot of attention each game. The championship game will likely be the same.

CJ and Lutheran have no common opponents this season.