- Associated Press - Saturday, March 1, 2014

NORMAL, Ill. (AP) - Champaign St. Thomas More coach Chris Mennig just couldn’t avoid the cliche after his team coasted to its first Class 2A basketball championship Saturday night.

Alexa Wallen poured in 18 points as St. Thomas More pounded Prophetstown 70-34 to capture the crown.

“What a difference a year makes,” Mennig said, grinning. “Man, this is certainly a different sensation than last year.”

Last year, St. Thomas was on the other side of the pounding, losing to Nashville 42-29 in the title game.

Mennig looked across Redbird Arena, past where his team was celebrating, and nodded at opposing coach Don Robinson. Robinson has coached Prophetstown for 37 years and took the team to state for the first time this year.

“I know exactly how that feels,” Mennig said. “But he’s got a great young team, like we did last year, and he will be back, I’ll bet.”

Robinson was circumspect after the game.

“Oddly, I’m pretty calm,” he said. “I knew ahead of time that we were pretty big underdogs, but I probably didn’t communicate that very well to the team. I didn’t want to frighten them.”

St. Thomas (33-2) jumped out immediately and never trailed in the game. The Sabers led 46-16 at the half.

Tori McCoy added 17 for St. Thomas, while Elizabeth Bristow scored 13 and Randa Harshbarger had 12.

“It was a total team effort,” said Mennig. “I couldn’t be prouder of the way they all stepped up. As a coach, you always want your team to play its best under the big lights. We did that here tonight.”

Karlie Stafford and Kassi Henrekin each scored six to lead Prophetstown (31-3).

Teutopolis beat Elmhurst IC Catholic 32-28 in the Class 2A consolation game earlier in the evening.

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