Lady Ghosts struggle to start season

Justin Miller

The Illinois Valley Central Lady Ghosts had a rough start to the season when they lost to Manual, 44-36, in the Limestone Tournament Nov. 23.

“I thought we played fairly well,” coach Paul Mercer said. “We had a good idea on defense of how to stop them and had them on the ropes for most of the game.”  

The team kept things close near the start of the game when Jenna Noland charged through the Ram defense to rack up points in the paint.

Noland led the team with 11 points.

IVC trailed, 16-15, at halftime.

The team dominated Manual in the third quarter by putting pressure on the Rams and forcing turnovers, which they were able to turn into points.

Hannah Johnson, who had eight points, helped the Ghosts regain the lead by calmly knocking down perimeter shots.

Going into the final quarter, IVC led 27-14.

In the fourth quarter, the Ghost offense continued to rack up points, but the defense failed to slow down the Rams as Manual pulled away to win.

“We had a downtime of about a minute-and-a-half in the third quarter where they jumped on us and took the lead,”

Mercer said. “Then they just held the ball and made their freethrows. They came away with the win but we played very well.”

The team lost their second game of the tournament Friday when the host school beat IVC, 52-23.

The Rockets completely dominated IVC in the early goings by scoring points off turnovers and keeping enough pressure on the Ghosts to keep them from setting up their offense.

“Limestone came out and I don’t think they missed too many shots in the first half, they hit everything,” Mercer said. “Of course, our defense wasn’t really there to stop them and when you have that combination it’s hard to beat a team.”

While the team was only able to score one basket in the second quarter, the Rockets added 16 to lead 32-9 at halftime.

Noland tried to claw IVC back in the game in the second half by blasting through Rocket defenders.

Olivia Gould helped the team create good ball movement by making smart passing decisions, but the Ghosts could not get shots to fall and were unable to mount a comeback.

“We did pick it up a little bit in the second half and some people came off the bench and showed me that they are capable of playing very well,” Mercer said.

IVC finished the tournament by losing to Notre Dame Saturday, 57-38.

“It was a very physical game and we did not play physical enough until the second half,” Mercer said. “By that time they already had their lead.”

The team next plays at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at home against North Central Illinois Conference foe Princeton.

“We have good teams this week and so we will have to play like we did in the Manual game,” Mercer said.