The fourth-seeded Lady Chiefs coasted to a 60-40 victory over Sacred Heart for their best finish in a tournament since defeating Glasgow by three points at Slater 2009.
The Lady Gremlins came into the meet seeded seventh, but pulled off the biggest upset of the first round by beating No. 2 Higginsville. And they appeared ready to put Santa Fe to the test.
Neither team led by more than four points until the final minute of the first half, when the Lady Chiefs surged on junior Brooke Barnett's runner in the lane, a free throw by sophomore Lexi Smith and two charity shots from senior Brandi Beasley for a nine-point cushion at the break.
That was merely a prelude to Santa Fe's third-quarter dominance. Freshman Kyle Limback converted a conventional three-point play, Barnett made two lay-ups, Limback drove to the hole and Barnett popped a perimeter jumper to cap a 19-2 run for a 42-21 Lady Chief lead.
Santa Fe would be up by as many as 24 points before it was over, the Lady Gremlins not closing closer than 17 points.
Sophomore Mary Fischer scored 10 points off the bench to top Sacred Heart (4-11).
Barnett and Limback each finished with 18 points for the Lady Chiefs (10-8), who return to I-70 Conference action Tuesday against Lone Jack.
Junior Emma Dyer racked up 22 points Friday as Higginsville captured the consolation trophy with a 52-25 victory over Slater.
The Lady Huskers recovered from their first-round upset at the hands of Sacred Heart to win back-to-back games, the third time this season they've won twice in tourney play -- having placed second in the Husker Classic and third in the Lafayette County Tournament, both on their home court.
Higginsville blew out to a 13-3 first-quarter lead and extended the margin to 14 points by halftime. The Lady Wildcats surged slightly with 12 points during the third period, but Dyer had 10 of her team's 24 points down the stretch to seal the win.
Junior Sam Davis added 17 points for the Lady Huskers (11-7).
Slater was led by junior Mary Anne Boston's seven points. The Lady 'Cats (9-11) will be at home Tuesday for a cross-county tilt with Sweet Springs, coming off a championship at Leeton's Battle on the Hardwood.
Senior Zach Bishop's 17 points paced the Marshall boys in taking the consolation trophy Friday with a 67-60 decision over Pilot Grove.
The Owls hit four three-pointers in the first quarter, two by senior Ben Valencia, to take a 23-7 lead. However, the Tigers clawed their way back, Kendall Kraus and junior Colton Glenn each scoring six points during a 23-10 third period which got them to within a point.
Marshall pulled away during the final frame, though, Bishop draining an outside jumper early. The Owls converted eight of 10 chances from the free-throw line to stay in front.
Glenn wound up with a game-high 19 points for Pilot Grove (13-5).
Sophomore Logan Harris tallied 12 points and sophomore Lance Thomas added nine off the bench for Marshall (8-9), which resumes NCMC play Tuesday at Moberly.
Santa Fe led by 20 points early in the second half, but had to battle during the fourth quarter to hold off Slater's charge in the seventh-place game, 63-58.
Freshman Ben Hinz hit three shots during the opening period and a pair of three-pointers in the second frame to send the Chiefs into halftime with a 37-18 advantage.
Junior Caleb Pemberton had the hot hand for the Wildcats during their second-half rally, scoring 20 of his game-high 22 points -- including three fourth-quarter bombs. However, Hinz made a couple of baskets, while senior Christian Boehmer and sophomore Truman Sleeper both went two for two from the line.
Hinz and senior Chad Tieman each scored 20 points for Santa Fe (10-8).
Slater (4-15) got 15 points from junior Drew Weiker.