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home : sports : sports May 02, 2016

1/18/2013 2:55:00 PM
Lady Pioneers hold off Lady Maroons, 40-37
JOSH BROWN
Sports Editor

Two Crawford County teams were vying for a spot in the consolation championship game of the Little Illini Conference Tournament Wednesday and the outcome was not decided until the final seconds.

Palestine-Hutsonville and Robinson went toe-to-toe for 32 minutes in Cumberland High School's Waldrip Gym, but in the end, the Lady Pioneers were able to hold off the Lady Maroons to pick up a 40-37 victory.

The win kept Palestine-Hutsonville perfect against fellow county schools, as they have beaten Robinson and Oblong twice each on the season.

"In tournament play, it's win or go home and we still have another game," PHS-HHS head coach Travis Blank said. "Somehow again, we dug down deep and found a way to win."

"The girls played a whale of a game," RHS head coach Dave Holubek said. "We went toe-to-toe with them, but give Palestine-Hutsonville credit, they out-executed us down the stretch."

Early on, it looked like Palestine-Hutsonville might run away with it, as they built a 7-2 lead three minutes into the game and led 16-6 at the end of the first period.

Robinson stayed within striking distance, as they put together a 7-2 spurt of their own in the second quarter to close the gap to 18-13 with 2:33 remaining, before Palestine-Hutsonville scored the final four points of the half to extend their advantage to 22-13 at halftime.

Palestine-Hutsonville stretched their lead to 24-13 on basket by Emily Nehls following a steal by Nicole Kiger 25 seconds into the third period, but the Lady Pioneers would not score again for over three minutes.

During that span, Robinson scored seven straight points to close the gap to 24-20 with 4:35 to play, before Leslie Churchwell scored for the Lady Pioneers to make the score 26-20 with 4:15 remaining. However, Robinson countered with 10 straight points to end the quarter, with eight of them coming at the free throw line. Kylee Hannahs knocked down two foul shots at the 3:55 mark, then Ashlyn Sullivan followed with two free throws 40 seconds later to pull RHS within 26-24. Kyndal Mendenhall tied the game with two free throws with 2:35 to play, then Hannahs made two more with 2:27 left after a steal by Mendenhall to put Robinson in front, 28-26. Emily Keeler followed with a layup after Mendenhall grabbed an offensive rebound and found her alone under the basket, giving the Lady Maroons a 30-26 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

A free throw by Mickey Shook pushed the RHS lead to 31-26 six seconds into the final period, but the Lady Maroons did not score for the next three minutes. McKenna Elder knocked down consecutive baskets for the Lady Pioneers to pull them to within 31-30 with 5:15 to play before Mendenhall made a free throw at the 4:47 mark to give the Lady Maroons a 32-30 lead. Nicole Kiger answered with a three-pointer to put Palestine-Hutsonville on top, 33-32, with 4:30 remaining, but Hannahs put back a Brittany Quick miss to give Robinson a 34-33 lead with 3:25 left. Kiley Rariden followed with a basket in the paint to put the Lady Pioneers back in front, 35-34, with 3:05 to play, then Calee Fulling added a free throw to make the score 36-35 with 1:46 to go. Sullivan made one of two free throws with 1:30 left to close the gap to 36-35, then Churchwell made two foul shots to push Palestine-Hutsonville's lead to 38-35 with 1:04 remaining.

The teams would trade turnovers before Sullivan converted a layup with 29.8 seconds left to pull Robinson within one, 38-37. After a time-out, Quick stole the inbounds pass and after another time-out, Hannahs was fouled with 24.4 seconds left. However, she would miss both free throws and Fulling was fouled on the rebound. Fulling would make both of her free throws with 23.3 seconds remaining to finish the scoring. Mendenhall drove the lane and missed from in close, with Rariden grabbing the rebound. Taci Newlin was fouled and went to the free throw line with 8.2 seconds left, but she missed the front end of the one-and-bonus. Quick grabbed the rebound, but was falling out of bounds. She tried to get the ball to a teammate, but Nehls was able to grab the ball and Palestine-Hutsonville ran out the clock to preserve the win.

"We lost a lot of these close games early in the year, but now we are finding ways to win them, which is encouraging," Blank said. "We started out good again in the first quarter and had a lead at halftime, but that third quarter was not good. We calmed down in the fourth, hit some shots when we needed to and Calee hit some big free throws at the end."

"They came out and put it on us early and we had a slow start," Holubek said. "In the locker room at halftime, I wrote two words - comeback and believe. I knew they had it in them to come back, but they had to believe it. They could have folded, but they didn't back down. Our defense turned it up a notch and on the offensive side started playing our game. We just came up a little short in the end."

Neither team shot the ball well, as Palestine-Hutsonville made 15-45 field goal attempts (33 percent), including 12-31 from two-point range (39 percent) and 3-14 from three-point range (21 percent), while Robinson was 12-42 from the floor (29 percent), which included 12-40 from inside the arc (30 percent) and 0-2 from long distance.

The big difference in the game came at the free throw line. Robinson made more free throws than Palestine-Hutsonville, but also missed as many as they made. The Lady Maroons went 13-26 from the charity stripe (50 percent), while the Lady Pioneers made 7-9 foul shots (78 percent).

"The game was won at the free throw line," Holubek said. "We missed some big ones down the stretch that really hurt us."

"Calee's free throws at the end were huge and Leslie hit some big free throws late, too," Blank said.

Kiger topped Palestine-Hutsonville with 10 points, three rebounds, two steals, two assists and one blocked shot, while Churchwell posted nine points, three rebounds, two steals and two assists. Fulling totaled seven points, 14 rebounds, three blocked shots, one steal and one assist, Nehls netted six points, four assists, three steals and two rebounds, Rariden contributed two points, 10 rebounds, five blocked shots, three steals and two assists and Newlin added two points, one rebound, one steal and one assist.

"Kiley hit a big basket when we needed one late and grabbed a big offensive rebound late," Blank said. "She had a good game. Without her, we might not win this game."

Hannahs led Robinson with 12 points, five rebounds, four steals and two blocked shot, while Sullivan netted 11 points, six rebounds and one steal. Mendenhall posted five points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals, Shook totaled four points, six rebounds, two steals and one blocked shot, Quick added three points, six rebounds, one steal and one blocked shot and Keeler had two points and five rebounds.

"We have come a long way since the start of the season," Holubek said. "We have gelled well and continue to get better. That is the goal for the rest of the season, to continue to improve."



2012 Little Illini Conference

Girls Basketball Tournament

At Waldrip Gym, Toledo

Consolation Bracket Semifinal

Robinson 6 7 17 7 - 37

Palestine-Hutsonville 16 6 4 14 - 40



ROBINSON (37)

Kylee Hannahs 4-6 0-1 4-8 12, Kyndal Mendenhall 1-2 0-0 3-4 5, Ashlyn Sullivan 4-11 0-1 3-6 11, Mickey Shook 1-4 0-0 2-4 4, Brittany Quick 1-10 0-0 1-4 3, Emily Keeler 1-6 0-0 0-0 2, TOTALS 12-40 2FG, 0-2 3FG, 13-26 FT, 37 TP.

PALESTINE-HUTSONVILLE (40)

Nicole Kiger 1-6 2-6 2-2 10, Calee Fulling 2-8 0-0 3-4 7, Leslie Churchwell 2-2 1-3 2-2 9, Emily Nehls 3-8 0-0 0-0 6, McKenna Elder 2-3 0-3 0-0 4, Kiley Rariden 1-3 0-0 0-0 2, Taci Newlin 1-1 0-2 0-1 2, TOTALS 12-31 2FG, 3-14 3FG, 7-9 FT, 40 TP.

Turnovers - RHS 19, PHHS 21. Team fouls - RHS 12, PHHS 18. Fouled out - Churchwell. Technical foul - none. Rebounds - (RHS 31) Sullivan 6, Shook 6, Quick 6, Hannahs 5, Keeler 5, Mendenhall 3. (PHHS 36) Fulling 14, Rariden 10, Kiger 3, Churchwell 3, Elder 3, Nehls 2, Newlin. Steals - (RHS 10) Hannahs 4, Mendenhall 2, Shook 2, Sullivan, Quick. (PHHS 14) Nehls 3, Rariden 3, Kiger 2, Churchwell 2, Elder 2, Fulling, Newlin. Assists - (RHS 4) Mendenhall 4. (PHHS 12) Nehls 4, Kiger 2, Churchwell 2, Rariden 2, Fulling, Newlin. Blocked shots - (RHS 4) Hannahs 2, Shook, Quick. (PHHS 9) Rariden 5, Fulling 3, Kiger.







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