IVC girls wrap up season with win over Geneseo, loss to Galesburg

The Illinois Valley Central girls basketball team’s season came to an end at regional play last week.

After stealing a buzzer-beater win from fifth-seeded Geneseo, the Lady Grey Ghosts ran into No. 1 Galesburg, putting a stop to IVC’s 2014-15 campaign.

IVC 43, Geneseo 41

The No. 4 Lady Grey Ghosts used some late-game heroics to knock off the No. 5 seed in the opening round of the Rock Island Alleman Class 3A Regional, bumping Geneseo with a 43-41 win.

With the score tied at 41-41 late in the fourth quarter, IVC senior Erica Larson hit a jumper in front of the hoop that gave the Lady Grey Ghosts a two-point lead with under a second remaining, effectively closing out a first round win for IVC, as well as the Maple Leafs’ season.

Larson led IVC with 12 points, shooting 4 for 8 from the field with three 3-pointers.

Fellow senior Demi Johnson followed with 10 points on a 4-for-12 effort, while senior Shayna VanOstrand added nine points for IVC.

VanOstrand led the Lady Grey Ghosts on the boards with 10 rebounds, followed by Johnson with six and senior Katelyn Heinz with five.

Galesburg 58, IVC 29

Despite a win in the opening round, the Lady Grey Ghosts couldn’t carry over the momentum in Round 2 as top-seeded Galesburg ran away with a 58-29 win, putting a stop to IVC’s season.

After leading 20-11 at halftime, the Silver Streaks knocked down 19 points to IVC’s four, extending their lead to 39-15 headed into the final frame.

“Our defense was great in the first half. Galesburg’s height started to wear on us a bit in the second half, along with some foul trouble,” said IVC coach Martin Pazanin. “Our effort was present for 32 minutes.”

The Lady Grey Ghosts managed 14 points in the fourth quarter, but another 19-point effort by Galesburg put the game too far out of reach for IVC.

The Lady Grey Ghosts shot 12 for 38 (31 percent) from the field, due to a combination of a stingy Galesburg defense forcing IVC to shoot from the perimeter.

“Galesburg played a very disciplined pack-in defense against our dribble-drive offense,” Pazanin said. “When we did shoot from outside, a lot of those shots were not falling for us.”

Heinz led IVC with 10 points, followed by VanOstrand with nine and Larson with six.

In its first year playing in the Corn Belt Conference, IVC finished with a record of 13-15 overall, 7-7 conference.

According to Pazanin, those figures are a testament to the progress of a team that went 8-21 in 2013-14.

“I thought the girls did an unbelievable job throughout the season. Constant growth was evident in all the players through hard work and dedication,” Pazanin said. “As a coach, you are thrilled when your players come to compete every day. They changed the overall culture of the program. I am extremely proud of them.”

If this season is any indication, Pazanin added, the future of IVC girls hoops looks good.

“Moving forward, we have eight players returning from our 14 players on varsity this year,” he said. “Our JV team was successful as well, going 14-7 on the season. The future is bright and I am excited for next season.”

NOTES: Following its win against IVC, Galesburg claimed the regional championship from host Rock Island Alleman with a 52-36 win.

With the win, the Silver Streaks adavanced to the LaSalle-Peru Class 3A Sectional, where they were scheduled to face Peoria Richwoods at 7:30 p.m. Monday.