After a tough season, the Illinois Valley Central Lady Ghosts hit the end of the road when they lost to Midwest Central, 57-49, in the first round of the Regional at home Feb. 7.


After a tough season, the Illinois Valley Central Lady Ghosts hit the end of the road when they lost to Midwest Central, 57-49, in the first round of the Regional at home Feb. 7.

 

“We had an up-and-down season,” coach Paul Mercer said. “We had games where we played up to our capabilities, but as a whole, we were not nearly as consistent as we should have been.”

 

The teams started the game evenly matched, with neither side able to grab a commanding lead in the first quarter.

 

“It was a high-paced game but the girls never gave up and were always in the game,” Mercer said.

 

Junior Emma Hoerr helped the Ghosts keep from falling too far behind by dominating defenders in the low-post to score near the basket.
Hoerr led the team with 26 points.

 

Midwest Central led, 6-5, after the opening quarter.

 

“Midwest Central was a young team, but we knew they had only lost three games since Christmas,” Mercer said. “They had one girl who scored 16, and one who scored 14, so we just weren’t able to stop them all.”

 

Midwest Central’s offense began to find its rhythm in the second quarter and used good ball movement to set up open teammates with high-percentage points.

 

The Ghosts were able to continue scoring in the second quarter to keep Midwest Central from pulling too far ahead.

 

Senior Ellen Pearson, who had 11 points for the game, cut through defenders to sink in mid-range shots.

 

Midwest Central grabbed a 17-14 lead at halftime.

 

“We didn’t have a lot of offensive output in the first half,” Mercer said. “We did better in the second half, but we should have still done better on offense.”

 

In the third quarter, the teams were again almost evenly matched.

 

Senior Stephany Johnson kept the team in the game by deftly knocking down long-range shots to push the team’s outside advantage.

 

Midwest Central continued to find ways to score, and took a 29-24 lead after the third quarter.

 

Both teams had their best offensive quarter to close the game, with each side racking up more than 20 points in the quarter.

 

Midwest Central raced past the Ghost defenders to speedily set up their offense and used good ball movement to get off plenty of open shots.

 

IVC moved the ball around and took advantage of opportunities to speed to the hoop.

 

“We had to foul near the end of the game, but, unfortunately, they kept making their freethrows,” Mercer said.

 

IVC’s defense was nearly non-existent in the final quarter and Midwest Central was able to put the Ghosts in a hole of which they could not dig out.

 

“The sophomores finished second in the (North Central Illinois) Conference, the freshman got first and we finished third, so we have a good young group of girls,” Mercer said. “We also have Emma, our leading scorer, coming back next season.

 

“We have the makings and the talent to be a competitive team, but they need to make sure to put in the work over the summer. I’m looking forward to us possibly having a really good team next year.”

 

The team finishes the season with an overall record of 11-13.