Seneca overcomes shooting woes to win 3rd-place game
BRAIDWOOD – Seneca outplayed its No. 4 seed Thursday, winning the third-place game of the Interstate Eight Conference girls basketball tournament, 38-22, against Lisle at Reed-Custer.
Coach Barb Beck hesitated to call it a good tournament, or even a good finish to the tournament, after watching the Irish shoot a little more than 31 percent (15 for 48) from the field and less than 50 percent at the line in the lopsided win.
“I don’t know. It was quite ugly today. I really got hard feelings on that one,” Beck said. “I mean, we played so hard on Monday night [in a 43-28 semifinal loss to Coal City] that tonight is just a blur, kind of, as I sit here and talk to you. Like I said, I can’t fault our efforts defensively, but offensively I don’t know what happened.”
The shooting struggles were avoided early, as Seneca went 5 for 10 in the first quarter. Mallory Misener scored nine points and handed out three assists in the first half as the Irish built a 22-10 lead.
The six Lisle first-quarter points came on a pair of Sierra Birdsell three-point plays, and the four Lisle second-quarter points came on a pair of Sammi Maas pull-up jumpers.
Lisle did not score in the second half until Kelsey Kretman made a free throw with 1:31 left in the third quarter. By then, the Irish were in a drought of their own. They were blanked from the time Misener made a layup with more than 6 minutes left in the third until Anna Baker made a layup with under a minute to go. Baker’s basket was their last until Mickey Juricic drove and scored at the 4:18 mark of the fourth quarter.
“We couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn in the second half. We got wide-open looks,” Beck said. “We played really tough defensively, but I mean, just, we couldn’t hit it. But I give them credit because we kept playing on the defensive end and finally got some things to fall.”
Misener’s 15 points led all scorers. Seneca (19-4) also received seven points from Juricic and six from Baker, who added nine rebounds. Juricic’s five steals were a team high as the Irish forced 24 turnovers.