Reels returns, Lady Cavaliers stay hot

Reels returns, Lady Cavaliers stay hot

Carlinville wins sixth straight

By Jackson Wilson

The train just keeps on rolling for the Carlinville Lady Cavaliers.

Carlinville has won six consecutive contests and nine of its first ten games. As an added bonus, Gracie Reels was back in uniform last week after recovering from an ankle injury that she suffered on Dec. 6 in Litchfield. The Lady Cavaliers went 3-0 in Reels’ absence. On Monday, the 5’7” sophomore reappeared in the starting lineup and came out with vengeance in her eyes – scoring 11 points, pulling down 5 rebounds and racking up a steal in a 58-28 Cavalier conquest at Bunker Hill. Previously, Reels provided great production off the bench in her return – totaling 4 pts. and 3 steals in Carlinville’s 57-27 victory over South Fork last Thursday.

“It was hard to be off for a couple of games but I’m glad that I got better and able to play again. We have a special group of girls and I’m glad to be playing with them. This is going to be a great experience. We’ve got a lot more games to go out and prove ourselves,” said an ecstatic Reels.

Carlinville only made four three-pointers in 20 attempts and shot 50 percent from the free throw line, but the defense created plenty of extra opportunities to make up for the bumps and bruises in Monday’s road win. The Lady Cavaliers combined for a total of 12 steals and got a nice block from Haley Wills. The Minutemaids were held under 10 points in all four quarters and only shot 33 percent for the game.

“We’re getting good defensive effort from really anybody that’s out there and when you do that, you give yourself a chance to win,” said Carlinville head coach Darrin DeNeve.

Rachel Olroyd capped off another big week with a team-leading 14-point performance. Sarah DeNeve (7) and Corinne Stewart (6) also provided solid scoring support in the starting lineup. Thanks to hot 17-6 start, D. DeNeve had plenty of breathing room to give all of his players a chance to shine in the spotlight. Wills overcame a slow start and chipped in 5 points. Madeline Bouillon had 3 points and 3 rebounds as well.

“We had some different combinations of girls out there and it’s nice that they get a chance to play with the other kids to get used to their tendencies,” remarked D. DeNeve.

Carlinville will rematch Bunker Hill in the opener of the 39th annual Carlinville Girls’ Holiday Tournament on Dec. 26. Game time is at noon. The Lady Cavaliers will follow up with another rematch against Litchfield on Dec. 27, then finish pool play by squaring off against Waverly-South County on Dec. 28. Both games will be played at 4:30 p.m.

We’re looking forward to it,” D. DeNeve said about the tournament. “Hopefully we will have a good showing next week. This game was just another step in the right direction for us.”

Carlinville’s Gracie Reels applies tight defense on a half-court press during Monday’s contest at Bunker Hill. Reels returned from an ankle injury last Thursday. Photo by Jackson Wilson.