OTTAWA — The Marquette girls basketball team gave top-seeded Peoria Christian every thing it could handle Thursday in the championship game of the Tri-County Conference Tournament, but the Lady Crusaders came four points short as the Lady Chargers held off a late charge for a 32-28 win at Bader Gymnasium.
After losing by 26 points to Peoria Christian on Nov. 29, Marquette coach Todd Hopkins knew his third-seeded squad would have to dictate a slow pace for Thursday’s title game.
The Lady Crusaders were successful as they limited PC to 10 points or less in all four quarters.
“(We said), ‘This had to be an old-fashioned basketball game. We have to keep the score low and every shot they take (we have to defend),’” Hopkins said.
“We had a chance if we get a few bounces down the stretch. I’m very proud of the girls. They played their butts off, and we dictated the pace. To do that against a team like that, I think we’re going to have a chance.”
Marquette trailed 16-14 with five minutes left in the third quarter after a putback bucket from Alice Salt, but Peoria Christian looked to be pulling away as it used an 11-3 run to close the third with a 26-17 lead.
The Lady Crusaders stormed back in the final quarter.
Angela Evola knocked down a pair of free throws with 6:14 left and, after teammate Allison Taylor connected on the first of two offerings from the foul stripe, Evola scooped up a rebound on Taylor’s second shot and banked in a putback.
The second-chance shot pulled Marquette to within four points at 26-22 with 5:20 left in the contest.
Marissa Gama brought the Lady Crusaders within a basket with a steal and a layup with 1:02 left and, after a PC free throw, Marquette’s Riley Bongartz made it a one-point game at 29-28 on a baseline jumper with 45 seconds to play.
Unfortunately for Marquette, that was all the closer it came as the Lady Chargers salted down the win with free throws down the stretch.
“Coach (Hopkins) does a great job with his teams,” Peoria Christian coach Greg Myroth said. “I told the girls that our first game wasn’t as close as they usually are between us. I told them it would be different here. I think they believed me, but I don’t think they gathered the intensity they were going to come out with.
“It was just a great ballgame. It was a well-played game. It was a very low-scoring game, but that’s because both teams were playing great defense.”
Taylor led Marquette (15-8, 4-2) with 10 points, and tied Salt for the team high with seven rebounds.
Taylor Myroth led Peoria Christian (20-3, 5-0) with 15 points — including four 3-pointers — to go with a team-high seven rebounds.
Putnam County 50, Roanoke-Benson/Lowpoint-Washburn 40
Daniela Pavlovich led the way with 17 points as the Lady Panthers won the third-place game over the Lady Rockets.
Putnam County led 13-8 after the first quarter and 23-15 at halftime before outscoring R-B/L-W 27-25 in the second half to hang on for the victory.
Megan Rehn chipped in eight points for the Lady Panthers, while Stephanie Wilson added seven and Ashley Zupec six.
Hall 45, Midland 44
The Lady Red Devils trailed 31-29 entering the fourth quarter but outscored the Timberwolves 16-13 in the final eight minutes to claim fifth place.
It was a big night for Hall’s Herrmann sisters. Junior Becca led the Lady Red Devils with 12 points, while sophomore sister Elle registered 11 points in the win.
Senior Bekka Dagraedt added nine points for Hall.
Notes: Marquette’s Gama and Salt were both named to the TCC All-Tournament Team. Also honored were Henry’s Emma Cluskey, Putnam County’s Pavlovich and Carly Gonet, Hall’s Becca Herrmann, Midland’s Sydney Foster, R-B/L-W’s Howard and Olivia Rossman and Jordan Myroth and Taylor Myroth from Peoria Christian. … Marquette’s Madelyn Thompson won the TCC free throw shooting competition as she made 19 of 25 attempts.
Chris Yucus can be reached at 220-6995 or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsChris.