PONTIAC — The La Salle-Peru and Ottawa girls basketball teams both lost on the final day of pool play Friday at the Pontiac Thanksgiving Tournament.
The Lady Cavaliers fell 55-50 to the host Lady Indians, while the Lady Pirates lost 57-45 to Joliet Catholic.
The Lady Cavs (0-3) will face Streator (0-3) in the seventh-place game at 9 this morning in the Pontiac recreational center next to the high school.
Ottawa (1-2) will face Bradley-Bourbonnais in the fifth-place game at 10:30 a.m. in the rec center.
Pontiac 55, La Salle-Peru 50
Entering Friday’s game, L-P coach Hollis Vickery was concerned about his players’ legs because the Lady Cavs have had several players sick or with bumps and bruises.
So Vickery decided to start Friday’s game in a triangle-and-two zone instead of running a pressure defense.
It’s a decision he questioned afterwards.
The Lady Cavs fell behind 30-15 at halftime and trailed by as many as 20 points in the second half before Vickery went to full-court trapping.
“We came out a little flat the first half,” Vickery said. “I was worried about our legs when I should have been worried about putting defensive pressure on them from the get go. We played a little passive. … I think (the triangle-and-two) set a tone for our defense of being a little bit scared and a little bit too over concerned about two players.
“The second half, especially the fourth quarter, the only thing we ran out of was time. We definitely put great pressure on them.”
L-P’s pressure forced the Lady Indians into 11 fourth-quarter turnovers and sparked a comeback, but for the second day in a row the Lady Cavalier rally fell short.
“We learned a few things about ourselves in the process,” Vickery said. “The whole (tournament) has been a learning process. I’m pretty excited about our prospects for the season as it goes along. We didn’t play exceptionally well down here, but at times we played very well. We’ve stayed positive through the three nights we’ve been here. We just need to rebound better and play a little better defense, and as the season progresses, that’s going to happen.”
Brittany Zawacki scored a team-high 14 points, while Brianna Argubright added 10.
Kaela Hodges scored 24 to lead Pontiac.
Joliet Catholic 57, Ottawa 45
Ottawa coach Mike Cooper hopes playing one of the state’s elite teams for the second game in a row will eventually benefit his Lady Pirates.
“We’re not going to see these kinds of teams in the regular season,” said Cooper, whose team faced national power Bolingbrook on Tuesday. “Hopefully, it’s going to make us better.”
Ottawa hung close early — trailing 13-6 after the first quarter — but eventually the Angels’ athleticism was too much and JCA pulled ahead by as many as 22 points in the fourth quarter.
“They are very good,” Cooper said. “They handle the ball well, (they’re) extremely quick and very physical. Obviously, we need to do a better job rebounding. It’s nice we have another game (this) morning. We can try to put this behind us and beat Bradley-Bourbonnais.”
The Lady Pirates had a lot of trouble with JCA junior forward Jasmine Lumpkin, who poured in a game-high 26 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Freshman guard Nicole Ekhomu added 15 points and four rebounds.
“(Lumpkin), you’re going to watch her on TV in two years playing for someone in the Big Ten (Conference) probably. She is very good,” Cooper said. “(Ekhomu) is going to be special.”
Cassidy Rice led the Lady Pirates with 15 points and four rebounds.
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.