After dominating the tournament, Illinois Valley Central's girls basketball team lost in the semi-final game, 45-41, to St. Bede Dec. 28 in the St. Bede Christmas Classic.
"We played well," coach Marc Lowe said. "It came down to free throws. They hit 50 percent of their free throws and got to the line 23 times. We have got to get to the free-throw line to help us get over the hump. We had a good tournament overall. We played well. We just fell behind and couldn't come back."
To start the game, the Lady Bruins offense was on fire, scoring from anywhere and everywhere.
Nothing the Ghost defense did could stop the charge of St. Bede and the girls found themselves trailing, 16-6, after the opening quarter.
In the second quarter, the Ghost offense awoke and began to set up a rhythm thanks to smart shot selection from Shayna VanOstrand and great passing from Brooke Rudolph.
VanOstrand led the team with 13 points for the game.
At halftime, IVC trailed 25-18.
In the third quarter, the Ghost defense continued holding St. Bede down while the offense attempted to mount a comeback.
With eight minutes to go, the Ghosts had cut St. Bede's lead to 32-28.
Despite a great effort in the middle quarters, the Ghost defense lapsed in the final frame and St. Bede was able to rack up enough points to hold onto its lead.
The team finished fourth in the tournament with a 57-45 loss to Fieldcrest in the consolation game Dec. 29.
"They went to the line 34 times and we went 11 times," Lowe said. "We fouled a lot in that game and didn't finish. We can't put the opponent on the line that much."
Brooke Rudolph, VanOstrand and Candis Rudolph were named to the all-tournament team.
"It was well deserved by all three of them," Lowe said. "They played well in the tournament, and we played well as a team. That was a very good tournament for us overall."
The team then turned around and hosted the Lady Bruins Thursday. IVC lost, 41-28, in the rematch.
"We came out flat in the first quarter and fought our way back," Lowe said. "They shot it really well in the first half. When teams come out and shoot it that well, it really hurts you."
Turnovers plagued IVC early as the team failed to sink into any form of offensive consistency.
The Lady Bruin offense had no such trouble and racked up points using shooting from all over the court.
After the opening quarter, IVC trailed 14-4.
Page 2 of 2 - In the second quarter, the Ghost offense still struggled to put points on the board while St. Bede's offense rolled.
Candis Rudolph did all she could to help IVC score by making smart passes and taking open shots when she got them.
At halftime, St. Bede held a 24-10 lead.
The script did not change in the third quarter when St. Bede came out of the locker room fired up.
IVC's offense still had trouble finding an open shooter and St. Bede began to extend the lead.
In the final frame, the Ghosts offense awoke.
Madi Horack knocked down shots over St. Bede defenders in an attempt to get the girls back on the winning side.
Despite the great effort near the end, St. Bede's lead was too vast.
The team next plays at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Dunlap.
"We just have to focus in on our defense," Lowe said. "We have changed a few things and are going to go to a more up-tempo game. We can outrun some teams so we are going to do more things up-tempo. Our defense has been pretty good, we just have to run and attack the basket more."