GRANVILLE — North coach James Barnett used a hockey line change with a 5 for 5 switch throughout Saturday's Illinois Valley All-Star girls game, splitting his four Putnam County girls with two in each rotation. He said he was tempted at the end to put in all four Lady Panthers so they could run one of PC's plays to go for the tying basket.
He stuck to the gameplan, and although they North got a good look from PC standout Daniella Pavlovich for the tie, she was unable to make the shot, giving the South a 74-71 victory.
"All the girls are deserving, so I wanted to keep it split up and give everybody an opportunity. We drew up the plays at the end, and they executed it just fine," Barnett said.
"They have a heck of a squad over there. That's a lot of ball players. I thought our girls did real well. They hung tough with them."
The South led for most of the game, taking a 36-28 halftime lead on the strength of Fieldcrest's Haley Reustman's 13 points.
All-State guard Rebekah Ehresman of El Paso-Gridley went off in the second half for the South, pouring in 20 of her-game high 28 points to go with 20 rebounds. Reustman finished with 22 points giving the South a formidable 1-2 punch.
Even so, the North hung right in there with a lot of help from the hometown PC girls, who unlike the PC boys were suiting up for the North to balance out the All-Star rosters.
PC's Carly Gonet hit a three-point shot to tie the game at 61. Teammate Pavlovich banked in her second three-pointer of the half from the top of the key to trim a South lead to 65-64.
Gonet scored on a putback to give the North a 66-65 lead with 3:08 left to play, Pavlovich scored on a drive and LaMoille's Shiela Browning added a scoring drive of her own to cap a 9-0 North run for a 70-65 lead.
The South answered with a 7-0 run, taking a 72-70 lead on a hoop by Anna Gauger of EPG with 0:22 left to play. Browning made 1 of 2 free throws, but Ehresman added two to put the South up 74-71 with 6.4 seconds remaining.
Barnett called for a timeout to set up a last-second play. North got the ball into the right hands of the hot Pavlovich, who scored a team-high 26 points with six three-pointers. This time, she couldn't get it to drop however and the South walked away with the win.
Barnett said he drew up the final play from watching team in the State Tournament.
PC's Vanessa Voss contributed eight points for the North with Bureau Valley's Nicole Bornsheuer adding and Gonet eight each and Browning seven.
Notes: Princeton's Kelly Schmidt contributed two points to the South victory. .... Ottawa's John Carroll edged Putnam County's Daniella Pavlovich in the King vs. Queen Three-Point Contest finals. Carroll made 11 of 15 to Pavlovich's 10 to take top honors. Pavlovich had to make it through a four-way shoot-off to advance from the girls competition.
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