EL PASO — The Fieldcrest girls basketball team had a case of the runs on Tuesday.
They just, however, didn’t go in the Lady Knights’ favor.
With No. 3-seeded Fieldcrest leading midway through the second quarter against No. 2-seeded Tremont in Tuesday’s Class 2A El Paso-Gridley Regional semifinal, the Lady Knights allowed the Turks to go on a 6-0 run to take the lead.
Nearly a quarter later, Fieldcrest allowed a 12-0 second-half surge by Tremont that allowed the Turks to put the game out of reach.
The two key runs resulted in a 61-49 season-ending defeat for Fieldcrest.
“They are very athletic and physical,” Fieldcrest coach Ron Kreiser said. “We weren’t hitting some shots and got frustrated. There really weren’t any wide-open looks. They were giving us a little penetration and kick, but we didn’t do a real good job of using that. But give credit to them.”
Playing a Heart of Illinois Conference foe, Fieldcrest struggled to get going after giving up the lead in the second quarter.
With the game tied at 13-13, Fieldcrest junior guard Haley Ruestman went 1-for-2 from the foul line to give the Lady Knights a 14-13 advantage with 4:34 left in the second quarter.
It was Fieldcrest’s last lead of the game as Tremont responded with the 6-0 surge.
Tremont’s Wesley Woodard started the rally with two free throws to give the Turks a 15-14 lead with 3:27 left before half.
Out of a Fieldcrest timeout, Woodard laid in a basket and Amelia Glueck followed with a hoop to complete a run that gave the Turks a five-point lead.
After Tremont threatened to pull away to start the second half, Fieldcrest was able to hang close and pulled to 34-29 with 3:15 remaining in the third quarter.
However, Tremont finally put the game out of reach with its 12-0 run.
The Turks finished the quarter on an 11-0 rally to take a 45-29 lead after three quarters, and a free throw just 46 seconds into the fourth quarter gave Tremont a 46-29 lead.
“I think the last 3 ½ minutes of the second quarter we really picked it up, and the third quarter also really helped us,” Tremont coach Justin Wahls said. “(Those big runs) have been our strength all year. I wish we could start the game like that, but the third quarter has been when we’ve scored most of our points.”
Ruestman did her best in the fourth quarter to keep Fieldcrest in the game as she scored 13 of her game-high 23 points, but the Lady Knights never pulled within 10 points down the stretch.
“We just didn’t play a real good second half defensively,” said Kreiser, whose team allowed 21 first-half points and 40 second-half points. “The first half we did a great job of limiting their looks, but we when we got frustrated we stopped playing defense a little or like we can.”
In addition to Ruestman’s 23 points, Fieldcrest’s Taylor Tjaden added eight points and nine rebounds.
Sophomore Tessa Holland managed just two points and no field goals but did grab a game-high 12 rebounds.
With the loss, the Lady Knights finished their season at 18-10.
Tuesday’s defeat was also the final prep game for seniors Melissa Coons and Alivia Kroeschen, who did not dress on Tuesday.
“You hate for the season to be over, especially with this group since it’s a good group,” Kreiser said. “Those seniors have left a positive mark on this program. I know one didn’t get to play as much as the other, but they have been positive kids who are good teammates and have been good role models.”
Jared Bell can be reached at 220-6938, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsJared.