CHARLESTON -- Following a successful day one for the Lady Trojans, the squad improved their tourney record to 4-0 after winning 2 more games in the 25th Holiday Tournament on Thursday at Baker Gym. The Lady Trojans opened their first game in the afternoon against Rantoul with 32 unanswered points in the 1st quarter.
Five minutes into the game, Charleston pulled their varsity starters as the team led greatly. With only seconds remaining, Rantoul put points on the board for the first time with a 2-pointer.
The rested varsity lineup was thrown into the game once the 2nd quarter began, and played on the court only 2 minutes until substitutions occurred once again. The team was up 42-3, and only allowed a Rantoul 3-pointer before the 2nd half.
After Rantoul scored 11 points in the 3rd, the Charleston Trojans still maintained a strong lead of 67-14 heading into the last quarter. The younger players returned into the game as the 4th quarter took off, to then clinch the 82-22 victory over Rantoul Township.
Later in the evening, the 3-0 Trojans took on the Paris Tigers to grasp a 68-60 win. This was the last game for the Trojans until the championship game Friday, the win securing them a spot in the tourney.
The Trojans faced an aggressive Paris Tigers from the very beginning, playing toe to toe in the first quarter. It was a close game until the last few minutes of the 1st, when Charleston went on an 11-point run to give them a boost of momentum over Paris.
Ahead 20-10 with 45 seconds left until the 2nd quarter, the Tigers responded with a 3-pointer of their own. Charleston senior Paige Swango then scored a 3-pointer off an assist from teammate Shae Littleford to lead 23-13 heading into the 2nd.
Charleston continued to excel, making long passes and fast plays to move into halftime ahead 43-22.
The Trojans faced an aggressive Paris squad once again after the half, giving them a fight to secure their red pool spot in the championship game. The Tigers took advantage of Charleston’s errors and closed a big point gap.
But the Charleston Trojans pulled through with their eight point win. Charleston head coach Jeff Miller was pleased with the team’s 1st half performance. “We played a very good 1st half; they switched to the zone and stopped attacking in the 2nd,” Miller said. “We didn’t make good decisions.”
Miller thought the team showed some weaknesses in the 2nd half of the game against Paris. “Our guards need to do a better job at taking care of the ball during crunch time,” Miller said. “All in all, it’s a win and Paris will most likely to be in our regional so that should help the seeds.”
Charleston goes 4-0 in the tourney, and will either meet meet their Effingham Apollo Conference rival for the 5th time or the Danville Vikings at 6 p.m. tomorrow. The deciding game for the gold pool between Effingham and Danville at 9 a.m.
Tri-County falls to Danville Thursday
Coming into day two of tourney play with a 1-1 record, the Tri-County Titans dropped their second game of the tournament to the Danville Vikings in an aggressive battle to the end.
The 1A Titans stood their ground against the 4A Vikings Thursday afternoon. After a sluggish start Tri-County managed to make it a tied game at halftime.
Danville came into the 3rd with a stronger defense to put pressure on the rejuvenated Titans. Halting the Titan offense from the beginning of the half, the Vikings pulled through to finalize a 68-61 win in a tight matchup.
Tri-County head coach Joe Morrisey said his team was well aware of the tough task ahead of the team. “I think early on we were scared to death, because we’d played them earlier in the summer and they just really gave it to us,” Morrisey said.
After a sluggish first quarter, Morrisey said his team finally “woke up a little bit.” Overall, Morrisey said he was pleased with the team’s effort against a strong Danville team. “Danville is really good, but we played well.”
The 1-2 tournament ranked Tri-County team will move on to face Sacred Heart at 10:30 a.m. on Friday.