By: Keaton Greene
New Year, same team. The girls basketball team continues to thrive into 2017 while ranked #2 in the state heading into the Heart Of Illinois conference tournament. This is the Lady Hornets first time competing in 106th annual HOI tourney, after recently switching conferences this past year.
The Lady Hornets started the tournament with a bye after being ranked number two in the conference standings voted on by the coaches.
On Monday, January 16, the girls played their first game at Eureka College against the Tremont Turks. The Hornets started off on top and never looked back blowing by the Turks 51-32 to head to the semifinals to at the Shirk Center in Normal, Il.
In the semifinals it was the battle of the Hornets as Heyworth looked to get revenge on Eureka after beating them earlier in the year by 20 points. The game started back and forth as the teams traded points until the end of the first half. Heyworth’s press was slowing Eureka down and forcing turnovers to keep the game close. But after some halftime adjustments by Coach Jerry Prina, the team came back and buzzed ahead to seal the victory in a dominating 54-37 performance. “We talked over how to break their press better which led to easy buckets,” said Coach Prina about his halftime talk.
This then set the stage for the championship game of the 106th annual HOI tourney between number one ranked Ridgeview and number two ranked Eureka. “We were pumped!
The Lady Hornets started off with loads of energy starting off with a 12-0 leading and only extending it throughout the game. All cylinders were clicking for them as every player was contributing, knocking down three pointers and free throws. Junior Tessa Leman led all scoring with 19 points along with junior Natalie Bardwell’s 15.
The final score was a one sided game with the Hornets stinging the Knights 53-28! “It was cool to play on the colleer court during a fun tournament! The Shirk Center was a great environment,” said Tessa. The girls put on a show in the conference tournament and are hoping to carry that into the rest of the season and make a run in the playoffs.Join the Hornets as they take on Ridgeview at home TONIGHT!! It’s a special night, as the seniors will be recognized, Tessa Leman’s thousandth point will be celebrated, and Mr. Parsons will be honored. Come to the Nest and cheer on a Hornet victory!!