Lady Jacket’s season comes to an end with loss in Regional

Anna-Jonesboro steals win late in the IHSA Class 2A Regional to eliminate Chester


By Jim Beers

CHESTER – Chester High School hosted the First Round of the 2024 IHSA Class 2A Regional Basketball Tournament Saturday February 10. The event took place at 6:00 p.m. at the CHS Colbert Memorial Gymnasium on Rocky Bridges Court.



The Chester High School Basketball Team closed its 2023-2024 season Saturday February 10 when they hosted the Anna-Jonesboro Lady Wildcats in the First Round of the 2024 IHSA Class 2A Regional Tournament. The Lady Jackets led the game throughout the first three quarters. Going into the 4th quarter CHS led by 11 points, but faltered down the stretch, losing to Anna-Jonesboro by just 4 points, 58-54. With the loss Chester was eliminated from the tournament and ended their 2023-2024 season. Their final-overall record ended at 14 wins and 17 losses. Their Cahokia Conference, Illinois Division record ended at 2 wins and 8 losses. Jim Beers Photo


Chester’s first round opponent was the Anna-Jonesboro Lady Wildcats of the River-to-River Conference, Mississippi Division. Not too long ago the Wildcats were very familiar, regular opponents of the YellowJackets when Chester was a member of the River-to-River Conference. Since that time, Chester been a member of the Black Diamond Conference, and is now a member of the Cahokia Conference.


The Lady Jackets and the Lady Wildcats have faced off twice this season, once in the Christ Our Rock Lutheran Christmas Tournament and the second time at home at Colbert Gym during the regular season. Chester won both contests.


At the CORLHS Christmas Tournament Thursday December 28, Chester beat Anna-Jonesboro, 51-30. On January 16 at CHS, the Lady Jackets defeated the Lady Wildcats in a close, hard-fought battle, 46-44. The matchup in the Regional Tournament was the third meeting of the season.


The old saying goes, “Third time is a charm”, and usually means that when someone has had difficulty accomplishing a task two times in-a-row, the third time is usually going to be the time that success is accomplished.


Unfortunately for Chester, that old adage came true for Anna-Jonesboro at the Regional Tournament. In the third meeting this 2023-2024 season of the Lady Jackets and the Lady Wildcats, the Wildcats were able beat the Jackets!


The ironic part of this story is that Chester led, 27-22 at halftime, and 45-34 after the third quarter. All appeared to be on its way to a third Chester win over Anna-Jonesboro.


 In the final period, however, Anna-Jonesboro unleashed an unbelievable, 24-9 run past the Lady Jackets to correct an 11-point deficit and achieve a come-from-behind First Round, 58-54 victory over Chester!


CHS Head Coach, Jeff Mott said, “We had it, and it got away. It was a brawl all night. Some things didn’t go our way in the 4th Quarter and it got us!”


The brawl that Coach Mott referred to was the fact that the game was very physical and aggressive. That led to a total of 49 fouls, 25 by Chester and 24 by Anna-Jonesboro. The Lady Jackets had two players foul out and the Lady Wildcats had two girls foul out. It was difficult for either team to play smoothly or with finesse.


The loss eliminated the Lady Jackets from the 2024 IHSA Class 2A Regional Tournament and advanced Anna-Jonesboro to a Second Round Regional Tournament game Tuesday February 13 at Carterville to face the Lady Lions.


The first quarter started off rather well for the Jackets as senior Jazzi Merideth drained both a 3-pointer and a 2-pointer for five of Chester’s 12 first quarter points. Unfortunately, that would be Merideth’s only points of the game. She would not score again.


CHS Lady Jacket Basketball player Lexie Mott was the top scorer Saturday February 10 when Chester hosted Anna-Jonesboro in Round 1 of the 2024 IHSA Class 2A Regional Basketball Tournament. Mott scored 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for a double-double. She also recorded 3 steals and 1 assist. Jim Beers Photo


Lexie Mott, a sophomore, hit a field goal and all three of her free throw attempts for another five points, and senior Camryn Luthy scored two points on a basket, to round out Chester’s 12 first quarter points.


Anna-Jonesboro outscored Chester, 13-12, however, behind the scoring of Riley Cruse (5), Raelynn Sadler (3), Jayda Shepard (3), and Kansas Craig (2).


Chester rebounded in the second quarter to outscore the Lady Wildcats, 15-9.  Of Chester’s 15 points, nine came from the free throw line as the game was physical and aggressive throughout the entire 32-minute contest.


In the second period, Lexie Mott scored four points on two field goals and added two more on 2-of-3 free throw shooting. Jesse Stumpe, a sophomore, made a basket and all other points came at the line. Freshman Aubrey Colvis was perfect from the line making all four of her attempts. Senior Emma Diskey connected for 3-of-4 attempts as Chester completed a nice 15-point outing.


 The Wildcats scored just nine points in the second quarter in what turned out to be a foul-fest. Chester sent Anna-Jonesboro to the free throw line 15 times in the second period. Fortunately they made just 5-of-15 free shots. Kansas Craig also added a pair of field goals to complete the Wildcat nine-point effort. Chester led, 27-22 at halftime.


After the break the Jackets came back and continued to thrive. Lexie Mott knocked down four field goals and a free throw for nine points and junior Rylie Conley and sophomore Aubrey Coleman each popped 3-pointers for six more points. Camryn Luthy added a second field goal of the game and chipped on 1-of-2 free throws to complete Chester’s 18-point 3rd Quarter.


Chester held AJ to just 12 points.  Jayda Shepard’s basket and 2-of-2 free throw shooting, and a trey by Savanah Smith added a total of seven points. Kansas Craig was still active, knocking down a basket and hitting 1-of-2 free throws. Raelynn Sadler made a 2-pointer. Chester extended its lead to 11 points, 45-34 after three quarters of play.



The 4th Quarter was Chester’s downfall! The Jackets had trouble scoring and only had two players contribute to the Jacket’s offensive total. Chester sent Anna-Jonesboro to the free throw line for 16 free shots. The Lady Wildcats made 10 of their 16 free throws to add to another 14 points they scored from field goals.


Chester’s Camryn Luthy hit a 2-pointer to add to her other five points scored in the first and third quarters. Chester’s only other scorer was Lexie Mott who also hit one field goal and made 5-of-6 free throws. Together Luthy and Mott scored the only nine points for the Jackets.


The Lady Wildcats, on the other hand, received scoring from six players. Jayda Shepard led the last-quarter clawing and biting of the YellowJackets with her 10-point outing with a 3-pointer and three 2-pointers. She also added 1-of-2 free throws.


Kansas Craig camped out at the free throw line during the 4th quarter making 4-of-7 free throws and one field goal for six points. Savanah Smith connected for a 3-pointer and 2-of-4 free throws while Raelynn Sadler sank 1-of-2 free throws. Olivia Schaefer was perfect at the line sinking a pair of free shots to complete the Lady Wildcat’s 24 point rampage.


As the buzzer sounded the Lady Jackets had allowed the Lady Wildcats to overcome their 11-point deficit and overtake CHS by four points, 58-54. 


In the loss Chester did have scoring from a total of eight players for a total of 54 points. Lexie Mott led the Jackets with 27 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double. She also recorded 3 steals, 1 assist, and 2 turnovers.


Camryn Luthy was Chester’s second-highest scorer with seven points. She also recorded 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and six turnovers. Scoring dropped off sharply after that.


Jazzi Merideth scored 5 points, grabbed 4 rebounds, dished out 1 assist, had 2 steals, and committed six turnovers. Aubrey Colvis scored 4 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, dished out 3 assists, had 1 steal, had 2 turnovers, and was Chester’s only player to block a shot.


Rylie Conley scored 3 points, had 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals, and 2 turnovers. Aubrey Coleman scored 3 points, grabbed 3 rebounds, dished 2 assists, had 1 steal, and committed 2 turnovers. Emma Diskey scored 3 points, grabbed 6 rebounds, and had 1 assist and 1 turnover. Jesse Stumpe scored 2 points, grabbed 3 rebounds, had 1 assist and 1 steal, and committed 2 turnovers. Lillian Diskey did not score, but did grab 2 boards, recorded 1 steal and committed 2 turnovers.


In the game Chester had 21 offensive rebounds and 28 defensive rebounds for a total of 49 rebounds, more than enough to win a typical ball game. The Jackets also dished out 14 assists, had 13 steals, and 1 blocked shot. Once again, stats that would normally be enough to win most games.


The Jackets went to the free throw line for 25 free throws. Chester made 19 of those 25 (76%).


On the negative side of the stat sheet, Chester committed a total of 25 turnovers and committed a total of 30 fouls. In that parade of fouls the Jackets sent to Wildcats to the free throw line for 38 free throws and they made 21 of those (55%).


Chester had two players foul out of the ball game, Jesse Stumpe and Aubrey Coleman. Jazzi Merideth, Lexie Mott, and Emma Diskey each committed four fouls apiece. These factors contributed to the loss.


Anna-Jonesboro committed a total of 24 fouls. They had two players, Riley Cruse and Kansas Craig foul out. Jayda Shepard committed four fouls.


Turnovers, fouls and a lack of consistent scoring highly contributed to the Chester loss. Chester’s top scorer had 27 points which is excellent, however the next highest scorer had 7 points, followed by 5, 4, 3, and 2 points.  The Jackets needed higher and more consistent scoring.


Anna-Jonesboro was led by two players who scored in double figures including Jayda Shepard (19) and Kansas Craig (16).  Savanah Smith and Riley Sadler each scored eight points apiece. Riley Cruse added 5 points and Olivia Schafer added 2 points.