NORMAL -- It's hard to find trophies from tournaments the Alleman girls basketball team haven't won.|
Never until Friday had the Pioneers won the State Farm Holiday Classic consolation championship. Well, check that one off, too.
Alleman needed overtime, but slipped past Kankakee Bishop MacNamara, 42-41, to win their first consolation championship trophy. They lost to Peoria Notre Dame in 2009; it was their only other consolation title tilt.
Down 10 points late in the third quarter, Alleman made a 5-0 run in the final 40 seconds to close the gap. They chiseled away in the fourth with Erin Morrisey and Anne Bohnert leading the way.
Morrisey led the Pioneers with 13 points and Bohnert chipped in 12.
Billie Franks made the go-ahead free throw and the staunch Pioneer defense denied game-winning attempts by the Fighting Irish in both regulation and overtime.
"When you lose your first game, winning the consolation championship is the best you can do, and we really had to fight for it," Alleman coach Jay Hatch said. "We got contributions from all 10 girls, and that's what good teams do."
Earlier in the day, the Pioneers held off Prairie Central as Bohnert scored 17 and Anne Wetherell added nine points and five assists. They dropped the Hawks 50-41 to get to the consolation championship game.
"We played with more energy and aggression and played more relaxed than we have in a really long time," Hatch said following the semifinal win. "When we went to the bench, there was no drop off. If they play as hard as we want them to play, we're going to need the bench to give us a lift.
"Anne played one of her best games all year. It was good to see her break out."
In all, the Pioneers went 3-1 in the tournament, winning three straight after dropping the opener to Peoria Christian, and will leave with at least a share of the record for most games won at The Classic.
"I thought we played well in all four games, we just didn't shoot particularly well against Peoria Christian," said Hatch of the opener.
The Pioneers will be able to add this new jewel to the already packed trophy case, although the reward was pretty surprising.
"I'm shocked the trophy is the same size (as the one you get for winning)," Hatch said.
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