The Lady Owls lost a 49-43 decision last Saturday to the host team for the Wellington-Napoleon Tournament title, but Thursday's 34-23 victory over Sacred Heart got them into the finals of the 32nd Wildcat Classic at Slater for the first time since winning their third straight championship in 1989.
It was the second victory of the season for Marshall over the Lady Gremlins, having beaten them for the consolation trophy of the MHS Shoot-out, 40-30, on Nov. 30.
The Lady Owls benefited from the return to full-time action of sophomore point guard Molly Evans, who matched her season high with 22 points in her first start since hurting her neck a week earlier.
Evans scored all nine of Marshall's first-quarter points and 10 more during the second period -- burying three three-pointers during the half -- to pace the team to a 24-6 halftime lead.
The Lady Owls didn't need another point, the Lady Gremlins only able to cut their deficit to 10 points with a 10-2 third quarter. Seventh-seeded Sacred Heart pulled off the tourney's biggest upset two days earlier by bumping off No. 2 Higginsville.
Senior Sydney Smith led the Lady Gremlins (4-10) with 12 points.
Senior Jashawna Terry and junior Karson Heying each scored four points for third-seeded Marshall (11-5), which meet No. 1 Glasgow -- ranked seventh in Class 1 -- for first place Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Marshall boys will play for the consolation trophy today following Thursday's 56-49 overtime win over Santa Fe.
Sophomore Conner Cooley hit a pair of bombs as the Owls took a 19-12 lead in the first quarter, but the Chiefs out-scored them over the next two frames to close to within five points -- then caught up on senior Andrew Curry's bomb with 20 seconds remaining.
However, sophomore Logan Harris took the opening tip of overtime to the rack and then got another lay-up a few seconds later to put Marshall up by four points. Santa Fe never got closer as the Owls sank six of 12 free throws during the extra period.
Curry had a game-high 23 points for the Chiefs (9-8), who play Slater for seventh place today.
Seniors Zach Glassmaker and Zach Bishop each tallied 11 points for Marshall (7-9), with Cooley adding 10. The sixth-seeded Owls will take on No. 4 Pilot Grove today in the fifth-place tilt.