If there's a Rock Island line, girls' basketball standout Shavonne Brewer owns it.|
"I really do refuse to lose," was the line she proclaimed after steering the Rocks to a 56-51 Western Big 6 Conference victory over United Township on Thursday night.
To achieve that, Brewer effectively used the lines at Rocky's home floor. The senior was 3-of-6 from behind the curved one for nine of her game-high 22 points, and she was a perfect 5-of-5 from the straight one 15 feet from the basket to close out the contest.
Brewer even was 1-for-1 from the free-throw line at the opposite end of the floor. She banked in the three-quarter-court shot at the buzzer to end the first quarter to propel the Rocks to an early 10-point lead.
"She hit some tough shots," UT coach Justin Shiltz said of Brewer. "There's that one, and the one where she had the steal and turned around and hit a 3 in the second quarter. And the steal and drive for a bank in the fourth quarter."
The Rocks (6-0, 2-0 in the Big 6) needed all of that, especially after a 1-for-19 shooting effort in the second quarter helped UT get back into the game.
After Carlee Hoover hit 4-of-4 treys in the first quarter, the RI offensive well went dry as UT erased the deficit to tie the score at 26 in the third quarter.
"We dug down and found a way to get back into it," said Shiltz, who lamented a 3-of-15 shooting in the second quarter that could have vaulted UT (4-4, 1-1) past the Rocks.
RI coach Thad Hoover sensed the Panthers would provide a tough battle.
"We knew sooner or later someone would come in with a real good game plan," Coach Hoover said. "There are good coaches in this league."
But when it comes to players, it's Brewer who is the difference-maker.
"I didn't want to lose and knew I had to get everyone involved, and Harmonee Trice (with a 3 to make it 45-37) and Cairece Allen (6-for-6 from the line in the second half) came through," the senior leader said. "At halftime, up by one (24-23) wasn't enough. I told them we can't be 1-1 (in the conference). I want us to be 2-0."
Behind Katie Daggett (14 points and seven rebounds) and reserve Tayler Dobrinske (11 points), UT, down by 10 again in the fourth, pulled back to within four at 54-50 with 50 seconds left.
However, Shamia Clark hit a pair of free throws to close out UT. That completed a 20-of-24 night at the line for the Rocks.
"This is a great opportunity to learn and move on," Shiltz said.
And it's also a time to take stock in that line by Brewer.
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