Girls win Regional

Justin Miller
Regional champs once more: The varsity girls’ basketball team celebrates its Regional victory Thursday at Illinois Valley Central High School. Pictured are, from left, front: Allison Schultz, Mikayla Vail, Jessica Strong, Ellen Pearson, Emma Hoerr and Erma O’Brien. Back: assistant coach Alex Razo, D.J. Gibler, Kelsey Brooke, Jenna Magee, Laci Peterson, Megan Otto, Chelsy Stumbaugh, Heather Davis, assistant coach Gayle Rundall and head coach Paul Mercer. The team beat the Peoria Christian Chargers, 41-23, to take the Regional title.

Last year’s Regional loss to snap eight straight was avenged Thursday when the Lady Ghosts beat the Peoria Christian Chargers to return the Regional trophy to IVC.

The game against Peoria Christian started out tight with the Ghosts getting points off a three-pointer by senior Mikayla Vail.

Junior Laci Peterson got in on the action by slashing to the hoop for a lay-in on her way to a game-high 18 points.

When Peoria Christian got the ball, they used good passing to get good looks at the basket.

However, the Ghost defense kept the Chargers down enough to take a 14-5 lead after the first quarter.

The second quarter saw the Ghosts dominate the Chargers on rebounding, led by Peterson and freshman Emma Hoerr.

Offensively, the Ghosts received a burst of energy when junior Kelsey Brooke stole the ball from Peoria Christian and ran it to the hoop for two points.

Vail also helped out the IVC cause by knocking home another three-pointer to give the Ghosts a 24-11 lead at halftime.

In the third quarter, the Ghosts lost none of their intensity and used good defense to force bad shots by the Charger offense.

On offense, Hoerr knocked down two free throws to help the Ghosts on their way to taking a 35-16 lead at the end of the quarter.

In the final quarter, the Ghosts showed that their large lead had not diminished their hustle when Brooke dived on the floor after a loose ball.

On offense, senior Jessica Strong helped to run the offense and kept pressure on the Chargers defensively.

The Ghosts won the game, 41-23.

“We did a good job of stopping their outside shooters,” Mercer said. “We just didn’t give them any good looks at the basket.”

The Ghosts were led in rebounding by Peterson and Vail, each grabbing seven boards.

In the Regional round of the Country Cos. three-point shootout, the Ghosts had four participants.

Each participant has 45 seconds to make as many three pointers as they can from the top of the key and each wing.

Senior DJ Gibler and junior Allison Schultz lost on the opening night in the first round, before the Eureka game.

Senior Chelsy Stumbaugh and junior Erma O’Brien lost in the shootout before the Peoria Christian game in the second round.

With everything on the line, the Lady Ghosts beat Eureka, 70-63, in a thrilling and pulse-pounding shootout to open the Regional Feb. 11.

Illinois Valley Central started the game with a sense of urgency by going on one of their trademark runs.

Spurred on by Stumbaugh’s game-high 16 points, the Ghosts led Eureka 20-13 at the end of one.

After the first-quarter binge, the Ghost offense continued to knock down open shots.

They also used good ball movement to get a variety of players scoring, including Hoerr, who had 15 points for the game.

Hoerr led the team in rebounding, tying with Brooke’s nine boards.

Going into halftime, the Ghosts were leading, 36-22.

Although the Ghosts were ahead, Eureka had the kind of offense that cannot be held down for long, so IVC would need a stellar defensive effort.

The Eureka offense exploded out of the gates in the third quarter by running over the IVC defense, which was unable to contain the long-range shooting of Eureka.

Although Eureka was able to cut into the Ghost lead, IVC’s offense was not dead and put up enough points to make sure that they would have a comfortable lead heading into the final

quarter.

With one quarter left to go, the Ghosts were up, 51-41.

In the fourth quarter, the Ghost defense allowed Eureka to have their best offensive quarter of the game.

However, the Ghost offense also was hot, and knocked down enough shots to stop any chance of a Eureka rally.

IVC won the game, 70-63, to advance to the championship against Peoria Christian.

On Monday, the Ghosts took on Liberty in the Farmington Sectional semi-finals.

Despite a valiant effort, IVC lost the game 82-59.

The Ghosts were led in scoring by Peterson’s 16 points and Hoerr’s 15.

The Ghosts finish the season with a record of 18-10.