Washington St. Patrick's seventh-grade boys basketball team is making the most of its first trip to the state quarterfinals.
The Irish (23-3) won a pair of blowouts games Saturday to earn a spot in the Illinois Elementary School Association Class 1A state championship game scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday at East Peoria Central Junior High.
St. Patrick beat Mazon-Verona-Kinsman 42-22 in the semifinals; earlier Saturday, the Irish beat Gifford 40-13. Mitch Coughlon scored 25 in each of the victories.
The Irish will face Lovejoy (17-3) with a chance to win the school's second sports state title after the girls track and field team took gold in 1986.
Farmington Central (25-2) will play for third place in Class 3A after a 51-27 loss to Springfield Lutheran at Wenona Fieldcrest Middle School. The Farmers will face Glenwood Brookwood (13-4) at 6 p.m. Thursday.
Earlier Saturday, the Farmers earned a 44-24 victory over Piasa Southwestern. Logan Morse scored 16 to lead Farmington in the quarterfinal. Kyle Litchfield scored 11 in the semifinal loss.
The area's other three state finalists lost in quarterfinals. Washington Middle School (20-5) lost 48-16 to Springfield Lincoln in 3A. Jake Stewart scored six in the loss for WMS.
Peoria St. Vincent de Paul (20-5) lost to Springfield Christ the King, 38-9, in a 2A quarterfinal at Germantown Hills Middle School. Lucas LaHood scored four for St. Vincent.
Monmouth ICS (12-9) lost its 1A quarterfinal, 44-13 to Lovejoy. Cross Merrit scored six for Monmouth.
Semifinal teams come back Thursday night for third-place and championship games.