Lady Bulldogs and Lady Miners advance to Macoupin
By Jackson Wilson
The numbers don’t lie.
The 101st annual Macoupin County Basketball Tournament tipped off with two matchups in the girls’ bracket that consisted of one team simply overpowering the other. The Staunton -Mt. Olive Lady Bulldogs and Gillespie Lady Miners were considered to be two of the more battle-tested teams in the county over the past two weeks, and they showed it by cruising to victory in Monday’s quarterfinal round at Mt. Olive High School.
Staunton-Mt. Olive 58, Bunker Hill 22
Right from the opening whistle, this contest was money in the bag for the Staunton-Mt. Olive Lady Bulldogs. They started the game on a 19-4 run and built a 30-8 halftime lead behind the dominance of senior duo Savannah Bruhn and Abby Scanzoni. The second half belonged to Abby Davis, who nailed four of her five three-pointers en route to her team-leading total of 15 points. Bruhn followed closely behind with 14 points and Scanzoni chalked up 12 on six field goals.
“We weren’t able to practice over the weekend due to weather so I kind of expected us to be a little flat. But, I thought we did a pretty good job overall,” praised Staunton-Mt. Olive head coach Kyle McBrain.
“They do a great job getting in the right place at the right time. Their help defense is good. I think them, Carlinville and Southwestern are definitely the top tier teams of the tournament here. They are a solid team,” Bunker Hill head coach Tim Mellenthin said out of respect to Staunton-Mt. Olive.
Gillespie 51, North Mac 34
In a matchup that featured two young squads, the Gillespie Lady Miners were able to overcome a sloppy start and use a 20-9 second quarter advantage to pull ahead 28-12 at the half. Rylee Jarman was bottled up all night, but MacKenzy Mix (16) and Keaton Link (12) came to the rescue and provided plenty of support for their lone senior cornerstone – combining for 38 of the 51 Gillespie points.
“They put pressure on us the entire game,” Gillespie head coach Kevin Gray said of North Mac. “It wasn’t a very well-played game but both teams played hard.”
“Defensively, we looked good early. We just go through those non-scoring droughts where we can’t put the ball in the hole and that kind of hurt us. But, other than that, I was pretty happy with our team,” said North Mac head coach Nick Sloman.
Since their 1-6 start to the season, the Lady Miners have posted a positive record of 8-7 despite suffering through a recent three-game losing streak at the hands of Hillsboro, Jerseyville and Greenville.
“We toughen up our early season schedule. We play some really good teams. I think we are playing more resilient- especially on the defensive end. We still have to take care of the ball a little better, but I’ve been proud of how we’re starting to play more as a unit,” praised Gray.
Staunton-Mt. Olive’s Savannah Bruhn drives in for a fast break layup during Monday’s Macoupin County Tournament quarterfinal against Bunker Hill. MCED photo by Jackson Wilson.
Gillespie’s Keaton Link takes to the basket during the second quarter of a Macoupin County Tournament quarterfinal match against North Mac. MCED photo by Jan Dona.