MONMOUTH -- If Annawan had hit a few more of its close-range shots, then Saturday's Lincoln Trail Conference girls' basketball tournament finals would have been no sweat for the Bravettes.|
However, the road to a third straight LTC Tournament crown was a bumpy one for coach Jason Burkiewicz's club. Trailing Stark County by four points at halftime, the Bravettes started to pick it up in the second half as they overtook the Lady Rebels to earn a 36-30 win at United High School.
"We probably missed 30 points in layups. It was every bit of 25 (points) at least, I'll tell you that,'' said Burkiewicz, whose 19-2 club hit on just 7-of-49 field-goal attempts, a 14-percent clip. "It's tough to shoot at a percentage like that. The points were there; we just forgot to put them in. We kept speeding ourselves up around the basket, and couldn't finish.''
With junior forward Celina VanHyfte being triple-teamed by Stark County, Annawan turned to its defense to save the day. It held the Lady Rebels to 15 points in each half. With VanHyfte leading the way with 13 points, the offense gradually came along to finish the job in the second half.
"The stuff we did flying around the court, it was a nightmare of a matchup for them,'' said Burkiewicz. "There's a lot of grit there with us. We scored our least amount of points this season, but we held a quality team to 30 points. Our defense carried us.''
Annawan's third straight LTC tourney title -- and its fourth in the last five years -- ties it with Wethersfield for the most consecutive tournament championships. The Lady Geese won three in a row from 2005-07. Stark County was looking for its first such title in 10 years.
"If we want to be considered one of the top programs in the state, then the LTC has to be automatic,'' said Burkiewicz. "That hit home with the girls, and they've taken care of busness. Now, we have a shot at another regular-season title this year.''
Lady Geese score bronze:Rallying from their semifinal setback to the Lady Rebels, the Wethersfield Lady Geese (19-5) rolled to a 13-point lead at one point during their third-place showdown with Biggsville West Central, then held on down the stretch to score bronze with a 59-52 victory behind the guard duo of Sarah Hansen and Kristen Parsons.
Hansen led the way with 19 points, with Parsons draining four 3-pointers en route to a 17-point game.
Spartans settle for consolation crown:The Ridgewood Spartans (10-10) settled for the consolation crown Saturday, holding off a scrappy Mercer County club for a 51-46 victory in the fifth-place game as they weathered another outstanding effort by the Golden Eagles' junior guard, Michaela Baker.
Baker poured in 23 points to lead all scorers and help the Eagles (7-18) shake off a 16-5 deficit after the first quarter. However, Ridgewood used its balanced scoring to work its way to the .500 mark, with Jasmine Jefko leading the way with 16 points and Ashley Collins adding 11.
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