Princeton Holiday Tournament
FRIDAY NIGHT UPDATE
Stark County and Putnam County will meet for the championship of the Princeton Holiday Tournament Saturday night.
On Friday, Stark County defeated Bureau Valley 51-40, while PC held off Streator 33-29 . They will play at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
BV senior Saige Barnett wernt over the 1,000 career scoring mark with two early free throws, finishing with 17 points. She said it meant "everything" to have her family and friends to be there.
Emily Fordham added 12 points for BV.
BV (2-1) will face Princeton (2-1) for third place at 6 p.m. Saturday
Friday's first game saw Midland beat Henry 34-28.
PC good enough to top PHS
PRINCETON — It’s one thing when one good team has a bad night in a game, but it’s another when two good teams have bad nights in the same game.
So it was for the Princeton Tigresses against the Putnam County Lady Panthers on Thursday night for the third evening of play in the Princeton Holiday Tournament, with Putnam County grinding out a 32-24 win.
In earlier games, Streator beat LaMoille-Ohio 38-21, while Bureau Valley beat Midland 50-41.
Putnam County 32, Princeton 24
PC pulled out every trick they had to stifle the Tigresses offense, limiting Kelly VanDenBussche to 11 game points (three treys and a deuce, all in the fourth period), McKenzie Coleman to two free throws (also in the fourth period), and Meg Fisher to one three-pointer early in the contest.
“I gotta credit my girls for that, keeping their (Princeton) most potent scorers in check,” PC head coach Jared Sale said. “The girls did a great job on the defensive side of the floor.”
It wasn’t that the Tigresses didn’t have their share of looks; the balls just weren’t dropping.
“It definitely wasn’t our best shooting night,” PHS coach Tiffany Gonigam said. “I wasn’t disappointed necessarily in their shot selection, but they just weren’t falling.
“It didn’t start so well, but we figured things out at the end. It was good to see the kids pour in some points at the end.”
Completing PHS’ scoring for the evening was Taylor Quiram with four points, and two points each from McKenzie Hecht and Erika Sorenson.
The Lady Panthers, however, had their own problems as well.
“I think we shot, like, 28 percent in the paint, and we can’t afford to do that,” Sale said. “We’re not built to give away that many opportunities.
“We had some point-blank ones that we did not finish on. If we could have, we would’ve run away with it, but there are going to be nights like that. We gutted it out and kept fighting.”
Leading the way in scoring for Putnam County were Megan Wiesbrock (12) and Madelyn Dzierzynski (11), with Avery Lamis chipping in seven.
Other elements of the Lady Panthers’ defensive strategy that proved productive were forcing jump ball calls and occasional mass substitutions, sometimes all five players on the squad at once.
“Actually, the officials started asking me, ‘Are we going to have another hockey change again,’” Sale said with a laugh. “But we have some depth, some sophomores that are super athletic, and we want to see where they’re at.
“We felt like there were a couple spots where we wanted to get a different look out there and play some man, so we threw the sophomores at them. People will see that periodically throughout the year.”
Princeton, at 2-1 in their home tourney, was heading toward the third-place game on Saturday unless PC would get knocked off course against Streator.
“We were able to come out, have two pretty comfortable wins to start us out,” Gonigam said. “We knew this was going to be a very competitive game for us, and Saturday will be the same way.”
“I love this tournament,” she said. “We have a great mix of teams, and it’s good for the girls to play so many games in a row. They can’t dwell on what’s happened, so they can put it behind them and move forward.”
Bureau Valley 60, Midland 41
Bureau Valley took a while to get their run and gun offense going against the Midland Timberwolves in the evening’s first game, but once they did, they took off and never looked back, winning 60-41.
“We came out and played man, and it wasn’t working great,” BV coach Jim Nugent said. “So we switched over to the press and went into a zone, and we were good from there.”
BV senior Saige Barnett, closing in on her career 1,000th point, had a shaky start to her evening. Her first turn at the ball ended with a traveling call, her second had a dribble bounce off her foot, and her third was two missed free throws.
“I just needed to get more warmed up,” Barnett said. “We were late warming up. We lifted and I was still a little tight getting into the feel of the game.”
She indeed got into it, breaking a 7-7 mid-first period tie to put BV in a lead they would add to and never lose. Barnett finished the evening with 16 points, just one behind Storm points leader Emily Fordham (17), and just one point shy of reaching her 1,000th.
Maddy Mares contributed six points to the Storm cause, while Sam Bohm and Carly Konnick chipped in five each.
“I think we’re playing well,” Barnett said. “Our fast break is already kicking in, and if our defense keeps up, we’ll be OK. Midland came ready to play, but we just had to do our own thing and step it up a little.”
Leading the way for the Timberwolves’ effort were Maddie Gransdart with 17 points and Jordan Smith with 10.
Against Stark County on Friday night, Barnett was looking forward to achieving and sharing her 1,000-point milestone with her brother, fellow BV standout Kale Barnett, in attendance.
“It’s a huge basketball moment,” she said. “I’ve played basketball with him all my life, and I feel he should be there.”
Streator 38, LaMoille-Ohio 21
Streator opened an early lead and kept it in the evening’s second matchup, defeating the Lady Lions 38-21.
The Lady Bulldogs’ Natali Haynes owned the ball for most of the game, leading all scorers with 18 points, followed by teammate Dezirea Jordan with seven, and Chloe Baker with five.
Mari Billhorn and Kylee Brown were the Lady Lions’ points leaders with five each.