All the hours of sweat poured into practice and the regular grind of the winter schedule come down to this moment in time.
Regional play is underway for high school girls basketball, and all local teams have tough tasks ahead if they wish to earn some hardware for their school.
Gibault and Columbia both opened regional play with victories Monday night.
The Hawks (18-13) won 45-22 over Steeleville at the Class 1A Albion Regional. Ashlyn Wightman scored 29 points and Maddie Davis added 12 points and 10 assists in the victory.
Wightman, a senior who signed a letter of intent last week to continue her hoops career at Illinois College, is the all-time leading rebounder at Gibault and also set the record recently for most rebounds in a season at the school.
She is averaging nearly 15 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots per game this season.
Davis, a junior, is averaging more than 10 points per game to go along with nearly six assists and three steals per contest.
The Hawks face Okawville in the regional semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Gibault lost to Okawville, 44-24, on Jan. 14.
The winner plays Friday night in the regional final.
The Eagles (11-17) faced an early scare from Red Bud in a Class 2A regional contest at home Monday night before prevailing, 33-29.
Columbia trailed 17-12 at halftime before picking up the pace in the second half. Avrie Barthel was big in the win, scoring four points to go along with her 10 rebounds and three blocks.
Aryn Henke added eight points for the Eagles, who took on Freeburg on Tuesday night.
The Eagles ended their season with a 61-39 defeat to Freeburg. Holten led the Eagles with eight points on the night.
Columbia lost three times to Freeburg this season.
Holten, Karsen Jany and Henke led Columbia in scoring this season, all at about 8.5 points per game.
Valmeyer (2-22) ended its season Monday night with a 52-12 loss to New Athens at the Class 1A Marissa Regional.
It marked the final game for Valmeyer seniors Caitlin Crossin and Lexi Davis, meaning several players return next season for the Pirates.
Dupo (13-10) opens the Class 1A Metro-East Lutheran Regional against the host squad Wednesday night.
The Tigers defeated Metro-East Lutheran, 48-44, on Jan. 13.
Dupo head coach Matt Carpenter said Tuesday he is still not sure if the team’s top scorer and rebounder, sophomore Octavia Heidelberg, will be available to play Wednesday. She has missed several games due to a medical issue.
If she is out, Dupo will rely heavily on Maddie Esmon (9.2 points per game, 6.7 rebounds per game) and Alexis Curtis (eight points per game).
The winner of Wednesday’s game plays in the regional final on Friday.
Waterloo (11-14) ends its regular season at home Thursday against Triad before traveling to Jerseyville for a Class 3A contest against the host school this coming Tuesday.
The Bulldogs have lost three straight games, the most recent being a 57-46 loss at Father McGivney on Friday. Waterloo led 31-24 at halftime but fell flat in the second half.
Nora Gum scored 19 points to lead the Bulldogs in defeat.
Waterloo is led in scoring this season by senior Aubrey Hubbard and freshmen Gum and Sam Lindhorst, all at about nine points per game.