Nail biter is a word that definitely describes the Galesburg High School girls basketball teams Western Big 6 conference game against Quincy High School Thursday night at John Thiel Gymnasium.
The contest was a battle of attrition to the very end, as Quincy found themselves down 65-62, with four seconds to play in regulation, when Arai’ya Dade hit a three to send the game into overtime tied at 65 apiece.
That is where the Silver Streaks, ranked at No. 5 in Class 3A, took over, as tough defense and clutch free throw shooting, led to them outscoring Quincy 10-2 in the extra four minutes and escape with the 75-67 win.
“I thought Quincy played really well tonight,” Galesburg coach Evan Massey said. “Defensively, we struggled against them in the first half. It was tough to get anything going. In the second half, we turned up our game defensively and it turned out to be the difference in the game.”
Quincy (3-4, 0-2) actually held a 67-66 advantage in the extra frame, but Silver Streaks senior Jessica Lieber sunk three free throws and a long 3-point bucket.
Add that to a Sabrina Clay bucket and a Sharron Diggins free throw and Galesburg (6-1, 2-0) sealed the deal with the eight-point victory.
Lieber led all scorers on the night with 24 points, while Diggens added 11 points and Clay chipped in seven. Galesburg also received help from Haley Kelso with eight points and Dani Teel with six, while Casey Williams poured in five.
The first quarter started out in favor of Galesburg, as Lieber dropped in a three-point basket to give the Silver Streaks the first points of the game and a 3-0 lead.
Quincy came right back with seven of the next eight points to gain a 7-4 advantage and still led at the end of the quarter, 14-12.
Lieber opened the second quarter with the first score, as she converted on a steal with a layup at the other end to tie the game at 14 points apiece. Quincy opened the quarter with three straight turnovers and Galesburg took advantage, as Kelso scored the next bucket to give the Silver Streaks a 16-14 advantage.
That lead held up heading into the second half, as both teams scored 17 points the rest of the quarter and Galesburg led 33-31 at the half.
Quincy came out in the third quarter and took the lead back, scoring six of the first eight points for a 37-35 lead.
Back-to-back baskets by Chloe Anderson gave the lead back to Galesburg, 39-37, with just under four minutes to play in the third.