Even with “The System” fully in place, things didn’t go smoothly, as the Silver Streaks shot under 18 percent (6-of-34) from behind the arc and even trailed at one point in the fourth quarter. But a late scoring run and clutch free-throw shooting propelled Galesburg to a 70-64 win.
“I thought defensively we came out and had good energy, we didn’t foul and Illini West did a good job breaking pressure and getting some easy shots,” Galesburg coach Evan Massey said.
“I thought offensively for us, shots didn’t drop and then it looked like offensively we played frustrated.
“We tried to look for more then we really needed to,” Massey added. “I think we were in a little more of a hurry then we needed to be.”
Things were back and forth for most of the game and early in the first quarter with the game tied at three, senior Jessica Lieber was fouled shooting a 3-pointer and converted on all three attempts to give Galesburg a 6-3 lead with over six minutes remaining.
Lieber led all scorers with 19 points, which give her 913 points for her career.
The lead would fluctuate throughout the quarter and by the end of the first Galesburg built a 21-13 lead.
Illini West then went on a 7-0 run to open the second quarter and trailed by a point, 21-20, with less than six minutes to play in the second quarter.
Illini West eventually tied the game at 26-26, but Galesburg was the one holding a lead at halftime 35-31.
Things remained tight for most of the third quarter as well — Galesburg’s largest lead would be 44-39 at the 3:36 mark — but Illini West scored eight of the final 12 points in the third and heading into the final frame the Silver Streaks margin was just 48-47.
Then with just over six minutes to play in regulation, Illini West was finally able to regain the lead, 51-50, their first lead since it was 3-0 in the opening quarter.
That lead didn’t last long, as Galesburg proceeded to go on a 13-3 run and held a 63-54 advantage with 3:12 remaining.
“Offensively we weren’t as good as we were defensively, but the offense takes a little more time and we will get better as we go,” Massey said. “It’s nice to get a win, Illini West is a team that is going to beat a lot of other teams, but for us the plus is we had a variety of kids contribute for us – so tonight I thought the storyline for us is we have a lot of depth.”
To go along with Lieber’s scoring, sophomore Sabrina Clay added 15 points, while Casey Williams scored 12 and Sharron Diggins chipped in eight.
Galesburg returns to action Thursday, as they take on East Peoria at Thiel Gym.
In Tuesday’s other tourney game played at Thiel Gym, Dunlap downed United Township 63-52 behind 18 points from Damilola Taiwa and 17 by Brianna Henson.
Jen VanWatermuelen scored 19 for UT.
GHS sophs win
The Galesburg sophomores won their season opener 56-50 over Illini West on Tuesday. Galesburg led 28-27 at the half.
Shayli Florine scored 23 points to lead the winners, who also got eight points from Madison Ross.