The championship picture is beginning to take shape at the Lady Bruin Christmas Classic at St. Bede.
Mendota secured a spot in the championship game with a 64-48 victory Thursday over Fieldcrest.
The Lady Trojans are 3-0 in the Green Pool with a game against Henry today.
Even if Mendota loses today and Fieldcrest beats Princeton to force a tie atop the pool at 3-1, the Lady Trojans own the tiebreaker with the head-to-head win.
“It’s nice. It’s been a goal for us,” Mendota coach Kevin Geldon said about reaching Saturday’s title game. “We still want to take care of business (today) and make sure we end pool play undefeated, but we’re excited to be in the title game. Hopefully, we can accomplish that goal on our checklist and move on from there.”
In the White Pool, St. Bede and Chillicothe IVC are both 3-0 so their 3:30 p.m. game today will decide which team will play for the title.
Mendota 64, Fieldcrest 48
The decisive Green Pool game was close in the first quarter, but the Lady Trojans made a 9-0 run in the second quarter to go up by 10 points and never led by less than six points the rest of the way.
“I think we came out a little bit slower than we wanted to. Our intensity wasn’t there to start,” said Geldon, whose team led from the 7:19 mark of the first quarter on. “They have a real nice team so it was a tough go the whole way. I thought as the game went on we picked up our intensity more and more.”
Up 18-17 midway through the second quarter, Mendota got a three-point play by Brooke Carroll, a three-point play by Amy Deviit and a 3-pointer by Karly Near to take a 27-17 lead with 2:33 left in the first half.
The Lady Knights pulled within six on back-to-back baskets by Tessa Holland, but Devitt scored four points in the final 52.2 seconds of the half to give Mendota a 31-21 lead at the break.
“We’re at our best when we’re getting stops and we can get out and run,” Geldon said. “I think that’s what happened there. We were able to get a little breathing room, but they kept fighting back. They kept making shots, kept making free throws. It was good to come out on top.”
The Lady Knights pulled within single digits twice in the third quarter and made a 6-0 run in the fourth but couldn’t get over the hump.
“The big girl (Devitt) killed us inside, but they just have so many options you can’t say, ‘Don’t guard (a certain player),’” Fieldcrest coach Ron Kreiser said about why his squad couldn’t get closer. “They have a nice, well-rounded ball club.”
Devitt led the Lady Trojans (11-3) with a game-high 26 points and six rebounds, while Abby Bromeschenkel had 13 points, five steals, five rebounds, three assists and three blocks.
Haley Ruestman knocked down 12-of-15 free throws en route to a team-high 19 points for Fieldcrest (8-5). Holland finished with 12 points and nine rebounds.
“They played very well defensively,” Kreiser said. “We just have to have some players step up other than our main (players Ruestman and Holland) and become a more team offensive group. That Mendota team is very tall, very athletic and a very good basketball team, so I’m definitely not hanging the head as far as losing to them. I just wish we’d get a few more girls willing to stick their necks out.”
St. Bede 65, Kewanee 45
The Lady Bruins led just 22-18 at halftime, but locker room adjustments helped St. Bede pull away in the second half.
The changes helped the Lady Bruins outscore the Boilermakers 19-12 in the third quarter and 24-11 in the fourth quarter.
“I thought we had to run off some Christmas cookies there at the beginning, but I like what we did a lot,” McGunnigal said. “When we went down for halftime, we talked about spreading the floor a little bit sideline to sideline to force them to play us a little bit more one on one. We thought we had an advantage there.
“Defensively, I liked our effort. We gave up some inside shots early. We adjusted to that at halftime, and that’s a sign of a good team to make those adjustments and really stretch it out.”
Leading 29-26 with 3:09 left in the third, the Lady Bruins (8-10) closed the quarter on a 12-4 run to enter the fourth up 41-30.
Laura Sickley had two assists and knocked down a 3-pointer during the surge, while Whitley Funfsinn also hit a long-range shot and scored on a drive to the basket.
“Laura with her outside shot and Whitley with her outside shot (can help us),” McGunnigal said. “They’re both very good with the ball. Defensively, they were in great position all night long.”
Princeton 30, Henry 28
Emmalee Sears scored on a putback in the final seconds to lift the Tigresses to victory in the opening game Thursday.
The Tigresses trailed 23-18 entering the fourth quarter but outscored the Lady Mallards 12-5 in the final eight minutes to pull out the win.
“The girls did a good job hanging in there,” PHS coach Kevin Hieronymus said. “They fought back.”
Sears led Princeton with 12 points. McCaela May added seven points for PHS.
Emma Cluskey scored 12 points to pace Henry, while Shelby Wright added 11 points.
Eureka 66, Princeton 34
Makenzey Wilson and Lexi Marselle each scored eight points as the Tigresses (4-11) fell to the Lady Hornets.
Eureka led 34-22 at halftime and extended it to 48-28 by the end of the third quarter.
“The second game didn’t go quite like we planned,” Hieronymus said. “I think we exhausted a lot of energy the first game. … Eureka is a real good team. Their pressure hurt us. If we could have handled that pressure it definitely would have been a different game. It would have been closer. I thought the girls played hard and never gave up.”
Chillicothe IVC 52, LaMoille-Ohio 20
The Lady Lions took an 11-7 lead after the first quarter but couldn’t keep it up.
The Lady Grey Ghosts rallied to take a 22-14 lead at halftime then outscored L-O 25-5 in the third quarter to take control of the game.
Katelyn Hughes scored a team-high seven points — all in the first quarter — for the Lady Lions.
Chillicothe IVC 50, Seneca 43
Erica Lawson scored 13 points to lead IVC, while Danielle Hauch led Seneca with 13 points.
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.