PERU — The Princeton Tigresses had two games Thursday at the Christmas Classic. Their first showdown was with Henry. Princeton led early in that one; then went down by eight points in the third quarter. They managed to come back to take the lead 28-24 in the second half. Henry then tied it up in the fourth to make it 28 all.
Emmalee Sears hit the game winner with about three seconds left, giving the Tigresses the win. The final score was 30-28.
“Emmalee was in the right spot at the right time, and it wasn’t by accident. She’s a great rebounder,” PHS coach Kevin Hieronymus said.
Princeton had a bit more trouble with their second game against Eureka. The Tigresses lost that one 66-34.
The first quarter was dubious for Princeton leaving them down nine points going into the second quarter.
Princeton was able to get within five points nearing the end of the first half. But it didn’t take long for the Hornets to widen that gap. The Hornets fullcourt press and trap defense were able to generate turnovers that brought them four quick baskets. At halftime the score was 34-22 Hornets.
“We struggled a little bit with the press. When we executed we were breaking it. But, there enough times when we were not executing that press breaker and they got some steals and buckets off of that,” Hieronymus said.
The Hornets continued their aggressive defensive play and were able to all but close the deal leading by 20 points at the end of the third quarter.
Princeton’s high scorers were Makenzey Wilson and Lexi Marselle with eight points each. Josie Hodel was the Hornets leading scorer with 16 points. Not far behind her was teammate Serena Meiss with 15 points.
Princeton lost to Fieldcrest Friday to wrap up pool play and will face Kewanee at 12:30 p.m. in Saturday's finals.