Moline moves on to take on top-ranked Knights

Posted Online: Feb. 11, 2013, 10:27 pm
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By Dan Tomlin, dtomlin@qconline.com
PEORIA -- The Moline girls' basketball team got what they wanted -- another shot at Peoria Richwoods.

The fourth-seeded Maroons dispatched fifth-seeded Pekin, 58-35, in the Class 4A Richwoods Regional quarterfinal, advancing them to play the top-seeded Knights on their home court tonight at 6 p.m. The winner advances to Friday's regional championship.

Moline (11-19) looked awfully good on Monday with Richwoods in the stands scouting. Seniors Morgan Gerard and Jordan de los Reyes gave them a lot to think about.

The duo combined for 33 points and 13 rebounds, with Gerard scoring 11 in the third quarter. In fact, Gerard was a perfect 5-for-5 shooting in the second half to finish with a game-high 18 points. De los Reyes ended a rebound shy of a double-double, spending almost the entire fourth quarter on the bench because of the blowout.

The Illinois State softball signee scored 13 points in the first half, driving to the basket and forcing the Dragons (7-20) to sink into the paint. By luring them in, de los Reyes and the rest of the Maroons looked to the arc as Gerard blew the game open. Becky Lankford also made a trey in the third as Moline put the game out of doubt.

In a strange twist no one in the gym had ever seen, Lankford and Gerard each made 4-point plays. Lankford banked in a three as the third quarter expired, and was hacked across the arm. Gerard made a trey with a Dragon flying in her face, knocking her down in the fourth. Both of them made the free throw.

"I've never seen two in the same game," Moline coach Steve Ford said. "It's hard to make that free throw most of the time."

The Maroons were a perfect 11-for-11 from the charity stripe, too.

Winning four of their last five games, the Maroons are playing confident and scoring more as well. Their last three games have been their highest offensive output of the season.

"We're being more aggressive to the basket," Ford said. "We're sharing the ball well, and we're getting consistent scoring."

The Maroon defense also held Pekin to less than 30-percent shooting for the game, while shooting more than 50-percent themselves.

"We're working together more and we're just playing hard," Gerard said. "We believe we can win, and this group of seniors are just tough."

Moline lost to Richwoods twice already this season, the first time by 23 and the second time by 20. This time, though, the season is on the line and Moline likes its position.

"We've got nothing to lose and we're confident," Ford said. "We got what we wanted, another shot at Richwoods."

The Knights are on a bit of a losing streak losing a couple of their final games, albeit to state-ranked Normal U-High and Joliet Catholic. Tipoff of the first semifinal is at 6 p.m. at Richwoods High School, while United Township and Rock Island play in the nightcap at 7:30 p.m. The two winners will play for the regional title on Friday night.


Local events heading

  Today is Monday, Sept. 22, the 265th day of 2014. There are 100 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The board of education has granted Thursday as a holiday for the children, with the expectation that parents who desire to have their children attend the Scott County Fair will do so on that day and save irregularity the rest of the week.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The guard fence around the new cement walk at the Harper House has been removed. The blocks are diamond shape, alternating in black and white.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The Rev. R.B. Williams, former pastor of the First Methodist Church, Rock Island, was named superintendent of the Rock Island District.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Abnormally high temperatures and lack of rainfall in Illinois during the past week have speeded maturing of corn and soybean crops.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Installation of a new television system in St. Anthony's Hospital, which includes a closed circuit channel as well as the three regular Quad-Cities channels, has been completed and now is in operation.
1989 -- 25 years ago: When the new Moline High School was built in 1958, along with it were plans to construct a football field in the bowl near 34th Street on the campus. Wednesday afternoon, more than 30 years later, the Moline Board of Education Athletic Board sent the ball rolling toward the possible construction of that field by asking superintendent Richard Hennigan to take to the board of education a proposal to hire a consultant.

(More History)