MATTOON — After the first game of pool play for Mattoon and Galesburg at the Mattoon Girls Holiday Tournament, playing in the title game was the least of either team’s worries. Mattoon lost to Olney 47-38 and Galesburg fell to Salem 30-27.
But both teams found a way to bounce back, Mattoon defeated St. Anthony in its second game of the day on Wednesday and then defeated Vandalia on Thursday to advance to the semifinal.
Galesburg won its second game on Wednesday, but lost its game on Thursday. Still, based on tiebreakers, the Silver Streaks earned a spot in the semifinal.
Then both teams won their semifinals, setting up a rematch of last year’s title game.
But unlike last season when Mattoon won the title, the fortunes flipped as Galesburg won the tournament championship with a 42-29 win over the Green Wave.
Even with the title loss, Mattoon coach Amanda Aydt liked how her team improved after the first game of the tournament.
“I am very proud of the girls. We got better this tournament,” Aydt said. “We made improvement, some adjustments and the girls had a good tournament, I am proud of them. We made strides in the right direction. Galesburg is a good basketball team. They are well coached.”
Mattoon fell to 7-11 with the loss. Mattoon’s Ashlyn MacDonald was named to the All-Tournament team along with Sullivan’s Esther Miller.
Galesburg went over .500 with the win and the Silver Streaks are 9-8 on the season. Galesburg coach Evan Massey was happy with the win and how the tournament was run.
“They always do a nice job here running the tournament and they make you feel very welcome, so it’s nice coming here,” Massey said. “This was a year, to be honest, I think there’s easily four or five teams where if you played it four or five more times, you would have four or five different winners. So for us, I am pleased. We got in a hole, we dug ourselves out after losing early. It’s very satisfying being able to win.”
Massey said his team just didn’t play well offensively in the first game, but made the improvements on the offensive end to get to the title game.
“We were bad offensively. I think we were solid defensively, so when we are bad offensively, (our defense) has kept us in game,” Massey said. “(Mattoon), did a nice job defensively. I thought their zone would be easier to attack, but they matchup pretty well. It was a challenge.”
For Galesburg, Yvonne Mixon and Andrea Sampson were named to the All-Tournament team. Olney’s Julie Luna was named the tournament MVP.
The game was tied at 2-2 when Chloe McCarthy sank a 3-pointer to spark an 11-0 run for the Silver Streaks. Yvonne Mixon had four points during the run as Galesburg took a 3-2 lead.
Mattoon got a 3-pointer from Bella Coffey to stop the run, but it didn’t spark a run for the Green Wave in the second quarter.
Galesburg scored the first four points of the second to go up 17-5. Mattoon didn’t make its first field goal of the quarter until the 3:34 mark when Coffey hit a three to make it 17-9.
But Mattoon didn’t score again in the quarter and an Andrea Sampson 3-pointer put Galesburg up 20-9 going into halftime.
Coffey was fouled on a 3-point attempt to begin the second half and she made all three free throws. She added another three to get Mattoon within seven, but a bucket by Emily Meinert and a three by Andrea Sampson got the lead back up to double digits at 27-17.
Coffey added two more free throws and another bucket to give her 10 points in the third quarter. Coffey finished with 16 points in the game and hit three 3-pointers.
“She hit some big shots for us,” Aydt said. “I thought Flannery (Sanders) did a great job of running the offense. She always gives 100 percent on both ends.”
Ashlyn MacDonald scored and Mattoon cut Galesburg’s lead to six at 29-23 going into the fourth quarter.
Sampson hit a jumper to start the scoring for Galesburg in the fourth quarter and Meinert scored. Kelsi Legge hit two free throws and Galesburg had a comfortable lead at 35-23.
MacDonald scored to make it a 10-point game, but the Silver Streaks made 7-of-8 free throws to take control of the game with a 42-25 lead.