In girls' basketball
Blue Star tournament
Rantoul 41, Urbana 35. Rantoul found a gem within its own basketball team.
Senior Diamond Walker is filling one of the pressing needs of the Eagles.
“We needed someone to handle the ball,” fourth-year coach Jeff McKaufsky said. “She worked on her game, and we could see it over the summer.
“She worked as hard as anyone and is playing with a lot of confidence.”
Walker had a team-high five assists in the team’s opening-game win Thursday at the sixth Blue Star High School Showcase at St. Thomas More.
On a veteran team — three starters have been varsity regulars at least three years — Walker is emerging as the playmaker.
Hannah Wascher is taking care of the inside play, hauling down 21 rebounds (11 on the offensive end) and scoring a game-high 18 points.
A fourth-year varsity member, Wascher’s improvement is centered around the way she handles double-teams.
“She’s looking to get other people involved,” McKaufsky said.
Wascher handed out three assists against the Tigers. Walker chipped in with seven points.
Karidia Shelby led Urbana with 12 points. Teammate Jessica Mack scored 10.
St. Thomas More 67, M-S 37. The Sabers (2-0) made a statement on the defensive end, pulling away from a 10-10 second-quarter deadlock to overpower the Bulldogs.
St. Thomas More’s defense limited Mahomet-Seymour to 12 total field goal attempts in the first half and kept the Bulldogs without a basket for an 8:17 stretch that extended until the 2:27 mark of the third quarter. M-S had 20 first-half turnovers, including six before attempting its first shot from the field.
“Our defense, if we maintain the pressure, we’d like to think a team will crack,” St. Thomas More coach Chris Mennig said.
STM scored six points in the final 45 seconds of the half to build its lead to 30-19. Randa Harshbarger hit the first two baskets in the spree.
Mennig switched defenses at halftime and liked the result.
“We went to a triangle and two (on Maggie Schmidt and Kristin Belyea) to create havoc and make someone else make plays,” Mennig said.
Harshbarger was the game’s top scorer. The STM junior had 22 points. Courtney Wax added 10, including back-to-back three-pointers after the Bulldogs created a 10-10 tie.
“She is another kid in a long line of upperclassmen who’ve started making the plays,” Mennig said. “She has put in the time, and we think this year will be her coming-out party.”
M-S (1-1) was led by Schmidt’s nine points.
Danville 31, Monticello 30. Megan Garrett scored a game-high nine points for the host Sages, who trailed 14-11 at halftime. Monticello received eight points apiece from Layne Buzan and Elise Pontious.
Lady Falcon and Bunnies Tip-off Classic
Villa Grove 41, Dwight 30. Kayla Dowler scored a game-high 12 points to pace the Blue Devils (2-1), who received 10 points from Lizzy Smith at Fisher High School. Villa Grove will play St. Joseph-Ogden for first place at 7:30 p.m. today at Gibson City.
PBL 41, Fisher 40. Sydney Blackwell made three free throws with 22 seconds left to give the Bunnies a 40-39 lead, but the Panthers’ Amanda Ypya hit a 5-foot floater with five seconds left. Ypya, who made three key baskets in the fourth quarter, scored a game-high 18 points. Erin Lemley chipped in 10 points for PBL (2-1) at Fisher.
The Panthers will play Iroquois West for third place at 6 p.m. today at Gibson City.
Schlarman 53, Iroquois West 51. Sydne Bryant scored a team-high 18 points for the Hilltoppers, who will play Dwight for seventh place at 6 p.m. today at Fisher. Taylor Cultra poured in a game-high 20 points in the loss at Gibson City.
St. Joseph-Ogden 37, GCMS 15. Ashley Landis led the Spartans with 11 points at Gibson City. Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley, which will play host Fisher for fifth place at 7:30 p.m. today, received five points from Emily Elder.
At Timberwolf Tip-Off
Cissna Park 34, Momence 16. Alexis Knake scored a game-high 14 points for the Timberwolves, who led 20-4 at halftime.
Watseka 45, Armstrong-Potomac 16. Devin Curry scored a game-high 12 points for the Warriors, who face Kankakee at 1 p.m. Saturday at Cissna Park. The Trojans were led by Johanna Bruens, who scored nine points.
At Lexington Classic tournament
Ridgeview 39, Deer Creek-Mackinaw 24. Paige Jones had 25 points, seven rebounds and three steals for the Mustangs (2-0), who got seven assists, six steals and seven rebounds from Jenna Ayers.
In nontournament action
Tuscola 48, Heritage 36. Erin Weaver poured in a game-high 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the host Warriors, who led 25-20 at intermission. Tuscola got 10 points and five boards from Amber Miller. Sue Ponder cleared six rebounds in the win. Cedar Richardson had 11 points and six rebounds for the Hawks, who received nine points from Dallas McCormick. Mary Happ contributed four steals and Jennifer Lannon had four assists in the loss.
North Vermillion (Ind.) 55, Westville 33. Ashley Hoffman tallied a team-high 10 points for the visiting Tigers, who received 10 rebounds from Ji’Cee Lacey and seven rebounds and three assists from Carson Richardson.
Sullivan 60, Okaw Valley 23. Emily Neuhauser scored 12 points to pace the host Redskins, who received 10 points from Asia Morrison. Sullivan freshman Alyssa Marshall scored eight points in the second half. Brittin Boyer contributed nine rebounds and Maggie Plank had seven steals in the victory.
Clinton 57, Williamsville 48. Haley Toohill scored a team-high 15 points for the visiting Maroons (3-1), who received 12 points from Morgan Hickman and 10 points from Payton Bieber. “I felt like our kids made a statement in the third quarter,” Clinton coach Josh Williams said. “After trailing by three at the half, they took a nine-point lead about three minutes into the third. The difference in their energy allowed us to regain control of a close game.”
Arcola 62, Neoga 47. Taylor Edwards had a game-high 35 points and game-high 15 rebounds to lead the host Purple Riders, who got 11 points and 12 rebounds from Cara Edwards.
“We played in spurts,” Arcola coach Nancy Stiff said. “We had good moments, but unfortunately we would have a streak of ugly moments that followed. We let them back within six points in the second half. Our pressure defense early enabled us to take an early lead — a lead that we would not relinquish. We got up by as many as 18 points in the first half but let them back in the second half. Defensively, we were a better ballclub than we were Monday night, but it’s still an issue we need to work on and improve on.”
A-L/A-H 58, Casey-Westfield 37. Ashley Tabb scored a game-high 18 points for Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond, which got 12 points from Sherelle Coller. Tabb also had eight steals and four assists.
LeRoy 59, Unity 55. Shannon Steffen’s double-double lifted the visiting Panthers, who rallied from a 40-37 deficit entering the fourth quarter.
Lauren Russell had 18 points, and Alyssa Aupperle added 13 for LeRoy, which got eight points and nine rebounds from Ali Dial.
Joan Maxwell (14 points), Kennedy Hartman (13) and Megan Bingaman (13) led a balanced effort for the Rockets.