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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Streaks in First

From the Register Mail

If you liked Round 2 of the Rock Island-Galesburg girls basketball season series Thursday night, you might love Round 3.
The Silver Streaks avenged an earlier Western Big 6 loss to the Rocks 61-60 on Thursday in Thiel Gym, a hard-fought nail-biter that wasn’t decided until Rock Island’s Harmonee Trice missed two straight shots from under the basket in the final seconds.
Ranked No. 8 in Class 3A, Galesburg (22-4, 6-3) took the WB6 lead from Rock Island (18-6, 5-3) with just one conference game left to play. The Rocks entered the game No. 9 in Class 3A.
If regional seeds play out, the teams could meet again next month in the Rock Island regional. Rock Island was seeded No. 1 and Galesburg No. 2 on Thursday afternoon.
“I feel really happy and really excited,” said softspoken Streaks senior Sadee Hamilton, who played a large role in the game’s final seconds. “We really wanted this game.”
With neither team gaining more than a slim lead through three quarters — Rocky led 12-10 after a quarter, Galesburg 23-20 at the half and 38-37 after three quarters — the Streaks claimed a 61-60 edge on a Jessica Lieber drive with 47.7 seconds left in the game.
Rock Island called a timeout with 35.4 seconds remaining and ran down the clock until a jump ball stopped play with :12.8 remaining.
The Rocks were awarded possession and worked for the go-ahead shot with Trice getting two close-range chances in a crowd under the left side of the Rock Island basket as the clocked ticked down. As her second miss rolled away, Galesburg’s Rainee Sibley picked up the loose ball as the buzzer sounded.
“Myra (Diggins) and I just went straight up and tried to get her off her shot,” said Hamilton, who helped defend Trice. “We just contested the shot a little bit. We didn’t foul her.”
Rock Island coach Thad Hoover obviously didn’t agree. He was still tossing equipment bags around on the team bench five minutes after the game ended.
“We did everything we could do,” he said.
“We shot two layups. We’re point blank. We can’t get better than that.
All I know is if it’s down there,” he said nodding to Galesburg’s end of the floor, “it’s a foul.”
“What we wanted to do in that last 12 seconds was limit them to one shot,” said Galesburg coach Evan Massey. “They’re so good on the offensive boards and so physical. I’m not sure in the last four minutes how many scores they had that weren’t off offensive rounds.
He added, “We didn’t get the first rebound so it made it more dramatic than it needed to be.”
Galesburg was led by Sharron Diggins’ 20 points, 12 of those coming in the fourth quarter. She played the entire eight minutes with four fouls and hit 8 of 12 free throws in the period.
“(Assistant) coach (Mike) Rux was talking to her before she went in and he must have asked her 10 times, ‘Can you play the whole fourth quarter without fouling?’ Massey said.
“Like all kids, she lied and said, yes. But she came up big.”
Lieber scored 19 points and Hamilton had 11 for the Streaks.
Shavonne Brewer’s 19 points led Rock Island. Sarita Goldsmith had 16.
The Streaks made just 5 of 31 3-pointers in the game on 18-for-51 shooting overall but made just 10 turnovers, including only one in the fourth quarter.
Rock Island turned the ball over 25 times.
Galesburg will host Bloomington in a 1:30 p.m. game on Saturday before closing out its WB6 schedule at United Township next Thursday. Rock Island finishes its conference schedule at Moline and with Quincy.

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