ERIE, Ill. — The Fulton Steamers and Erie Cardinals will meet again.

Fifth-seeded Fulton advanced to a regional semifinal date with fourth-seeded Erie tonight by opening the postseason with a 59-41 Illinois boys Class A regional basketball quarterfinal win over the Unity Christian Knights at Erie Monday night.

The Fulton/Unity matchup was the second game at Erie High School Monday. In the opener ninth-seeded Prophetstown rolled to a 70-53 win over seventh-seeded Morrison.

Fulton (16-11) and Erie (23-7) were co-champions of the Three Rivers Conference this season, both going 11-3 in conference play. The teams split their two regular-season meetings, each winning fairly handily at home.

The Steamers won the first matchup, cruising to a 58-37 win Jan. 10. The Cardinals got a bit of revenge and a crucial conference win Feb. 11 when they took a 58-45 decision over Fulton.

They’ll meet tonight in the second regional semifinal at Erie, following the 6 p.m. matchup between top-seeded Forreston and Prophetstown (8-21).

“What else can you ask for?” Fulton interim coach Bob Coffey said. “You’re playing the other conference co-champ. It’s the kind of situation you want to be in this time of year.”

Unity Christian (7-17) came into Monday’s action fresh off of giving state-ranked Dakota a tough time of it in a 56-44 setback last Friday.

Much like they did in their regular-season finale, though, the Steamers jumped out to a big lead early on and cruised to victory.

Last Friday Fulton used a 12-0 start to take control in their 54-34 win over Morrison to close the regular season. Monday the Steamers did one better, getting off to a 13-0 start.

Senior standout Jeremy Weaks, who scored a game-high 15 points, sparked Fulton’s fast start, scoring six of the team’s first eight points. Junior Quinn Wilkin (13 points, 9 in the first half) hit a pair of buckets in the run, one of them a 3-pointer. Senior Jeff Whitmore also had a bucket in the burst.

“I like the fact that we came out ready to play,” Coffey said. “We got going real fast. We got the ball inside to Jeremy and he got us going. That’s our bread and butter.”

Unity finally got on the board when senior Gavin Green, who scored a team-high 12 points, hit a 3-pointer at the 4:06 mark of the opening quarter.

The Steamers led 19-11 after one quarter.

The Knights worked within five at 21-16 after senior Matt Heid’s 3-pointer with 5:08 remaining in the first half. Heid scored nine points.

But, that’s as close as Unity would get as Fulton closed the half with an 8-0 spurt and led by double digits the rest of the way.

Senior point guard Tyler Manon started the Steamers’ run to end the half with a three-point play. Weaks added a free throw and senior Hudson Wikoff stuck back a rebound before Wilkin hit a bucket, but was unable to convert a three-point opportunity.

Fulton led 29-16 at the half.

Leading 35-23 the Steamers all but put the game away with a 10-0 blitz that ballooned the difference to 22 with 2:49 left in the third quarter.

Whitmore hit a bucket to start the run, which also included field goals by Wikoff, Wilkin and Weaks, and a pair of free throws by Wilkin.

Fulton led 47-29 after three quarters.

“They started out really quick, and we started out slow,” Unity coach Mike Elgersma said. “We battled back, but then they put that run on us before halftime and we really couldn’t recover.”

Morrison and Prophetstown split their two regular-season meetings, but the Prophets controlled Monday’s matchup.

Prophetstown raced to a 19-10 advantage after one quarter, but the Mustangs fought back within two at 28-26 at the half.

The Prophets outscored Morrison 19-10 again in the third quarter to lead 47-36 heading to the final frame.

Prophetstown had a balanced scoring attack, led by sophomore Brad Bohms and senior Brad Anderson, who scored 17 and 15 points, respectively. Freshman Cody Behrens added 12 points and junior Justin Bender tossed in 10.

Mustang sophomore Nate McBride netted a game-high 20 points. Fellow sophomore teammate Adam Cook added 11.

Morrison finished the season 11-17.

Eight players advanced in the annual 3-point shootout Monday. The group includes: Behrens, Bender, Heid, Wikoff, Fulton junior Richard Casper, Morrison freshman Jason Smith, Prophetstown freshman Ethan Ward and Unity Christian sophomore Jeff Traver.

Score by Quarters

Prophetstown 19 9 19 23 — 70

Morrison 10 16 10 17 — 53

Scoring

PROPHETSTOWN (70)

Simon Moore 3 2-3 9, Cody Westerlund 1 0-1 2, Luke McLain 2 1-1 5, Justin Bender 3 3-5 10, Tyler Sandrock 0 0-0 0, Kent Olsen 0 0-0 0, Brad Anderson 7 1-2 15, Mike Henrekin 0 0-0 0, Tony Adbuli 0 0-0 0, Wes Proulx 0 0-2 0, Ethan Ward 0 0-0 0, Brad Bohms 6 5-7 17, Cody Behrens 4 2-3 12, Jake Smith 0 0-0 0. Totals 26 14-24 70.

MORRISON (53)

Rustin Lindsey 3 0-0 7, Charlie Cady 1 1-2 3, Nick Vandermyde 2 0-0 4, Nate McBride 6 7-9 20, Ryan Nelson 0 0-0 0, Derek Ward 0 1-2 1, Trevor Popkin 0 1-2 1, Nate Vandermyde 2 0-0 4, Dustin Jones 1 0-0 2, Brian Oostenryk 0 0-0 0, Levi Lewis 0 0-0 0, Adam Cook 5 1-4 11. Totals 20 11-19 53.

3-point goals—Prophetstown 4 (Behrens 2, Bender, Moore); Morrison 2 (Lindsey, McBride). Total fouls—Prophetstown 19, Morrison 23. Fouled out—Morrison (Ni. Vandermyde, Popkin).

Records—Prophetstown 8-21, Morrison 11-17. Next games—Illinois Class A regional semifinal at Erie: Prophetstown vs. Forreston, 6 p.m. today.



Score by Quarters

Unity Christian 11 5 13 12 — 41

Fulton 19 10 18 12 — 59

Scoring

UNITY CHRISTIAN (41)

Gavin Green 5 0-0 12, Matt Heid 3 2-2 9, Andrew Young 0 0-0 0, Jesse Fullan 2 4-7 8, Will Stadel 4 0-0 8, Seth Lawson 1 0-0 2, John Merritt 1 0-0 2, Aaron Fullan 0 0-0 0, Jeff Traver 0 0-0 0, Gerardo Armenta 0 0-0 0, Dan Jasper 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 6-9 41.

FULTON (59)

Tyler Manon 2 1-3 5, Hudson Wikoff 3 0-0 6, Quinn Wilkin 5 2-5 13, Jeff Whitmore 3 0-0 6, Jeremy Weaks 7 1-4 15, Eric Hayen 1 0-2 2, Rick VanKampen 1 0-0 2, Josh Judd 1 0-0 2, Andrew Zahnle 0 0-0 0, Eric Boonstra 1 0-1 3, Ty Tiesman 0 0-0 0, Orian Hinrichs 1 0-0 2, Chris Custer 0 0-0 0, Richard Casper 0 0-0 0, Leo Sippl 1 0-0 3. Totals 26 4-15 59.

3-point goals—Unity 3 (Heid 2, Green); Fulton 3 (Boonstra, Sippl, Wilkin). Total fouls—Unity 15, Fulton 13.

Records—Unity 7-17, Fulton 16-11. Next games—Illinois Class A regional semifinal at Erie: Fulton vs. Erie, 8 p.m. today.