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St. Francis gets another shot at Wesleyan

NORCROSS -- The Wesleyan girls have won 27 consecutive home games, but that isn't the streak drawing the attention going into today's Region 5-A championship game.

St. Francis has lost all 12 of its games against the Wolves and the 6 p.m. title game at Wesleyan's Yancey Gymnasium is another chance to break through.

No. 1-ranked Wesleyan (24-3) and No. 5 St. Francis (22-5) posted easy quarterfinal victories Friday although both were playing teams also in the Top 10 of the Class A coaches poll.

Wesleyan, which has won four straight state titles and eight in 10 years, was dominant in a 74-26 rout of No. 10 Holy Innocents' (21-6) as Holli Wilkins scored 21 points.

St. Francis, meanwhile, rolled to a 63-46 win over No. 8 Pace Academy (20-6) as Miami signee Keyona Hayes scored 14.

St. Francis has begun to close the gap against Wesleyan, but still lost to the Wolves by 13 and 12 points during the regular season.

"We know we have to play our best against them," said Wilkins, who has signed with Furman. "There is pressure, but that just makes us ready for the challenge."

When St. Francis played at Wesleyan during the regular season, Wilkins took over as the Wolves pulled away after being up by just two points in the third quarter.

"They play an up-tempo game and that's what we like," Wilkins said. "It should be a fun game."

Wesleyan's semifinal romp over Holy Innocents' had a complete lack of suspense as Wilkins and the other starters sat out the fourth quarter.

Wesleyan outscored Holy Innocents' 28-2 in the second quarter to take a 48-9 lead at halftime. Wilkins had 15 points by intermission and Joshlyn Belcher nine on a trio of 3-pointers.

It was 63-17 by the end of the third quarter and the Wesleyan reserves took over in a fourth quarter shorted to six minutes by the mercy rule. The Wolves are 11-1 all-time against Holy Innocents'.

Brittany Stevens had nine points and three assists for the Wolves, while Katie Frerking had seven rebounds and three assists to go with six points.

"We got off to a great start this season and then hit a lull," Wilkins said. "But I think we are playing at our best right now. Our chemistry is really good."