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During the last several weeks, Ottawa senior Jasmin Bailey spent a lot of extra time in Kingman Gym practicing her shooting.
She usually tried to get into the gym right after school, but often there were scheduling conflicts that forced Bailey to come back at night.
When she came back to the school at 5, 6 or sometimes as late as 8 p.m., Ogie Hampson or another Ottawa custodian was there to let her in the building.
All that extra practice paid off Friday night.
Bailey drained 10-of-15 3-pointers at Illinois State University’s Redbird Arena to win the Class 4A Three-Point Showdown and advance to today’s Queen of the Hill contest pitting the four class champions against each other.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Bailey, who one night stayed at Kingman until 10:42. “I never really thought I’d make it this far because I never really made it past regional and I’ve been in it since sophomore year. It’s awesome that all the shooting around in the gym is finally paying off.”
Bailey drained four shots on each of the first two racks Friday before sinking 2-of-5 on the final rack to finish with 10 — one better than Fremd junir Haley Gorecki who shot first.
“I was kind of nervous going into it,” Bailey said. “Today for some reason my shoulder started hurting a lot. It was hurting when I shot after school. Then when I got to warmups at the actual contest, a lot of shots were going in, so it kind of made me feel better. I was still really nervous because I get nervous about everything.”
Bailey felt good about her 10 makes because 10 has gotten her through previous rounds, but said she was still a bit nervous with two shooters following her.
However, Lincoln-Way North senior Samantha Pietruszynski made eight and Jacobs senior Alyssa Lach made six to secure the title for Bailey.
“The girls sitting next to me were like, ‘Good job, you won it.’ I turned around and saw all the people who were there to watch me freaking out,” Bailey said. “I was just smiling. It was awesome. My heart kind of dropped into my stomach because I didn’t really believe it at that point.”
Bailey will shoot today in between the Class 3A third-place and title games against Class 3A’s Kelsey Walsberg, of Pontiac, Class 2A’s Devin Curry, of Watseka, and Class 1A’s Amanda Cheek, of Century.
Walsberg and Curry each made 11 3-pointers in their class final four, while Cheek made eight.
“I’m kind of nervous about it, but I already won 4A so it’s a confidence booster going into it,” Bailey said.
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.
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