BROADLANDS — Courtney Helm scored 23 points as Villa Grove’s girls’ basketball team won its first Little Okaw Valley Conference title Thursday.
The Blue Devils, ranked 13th in this week’s Class 1A poll, held off scrappy Heritage 54-44 to improve to 8-0 in league play. Lizzy Smith had 14 points as Villa Grove maintained a lead throughout the game.
Coach Dan Sappenfield said he was “proud of his girls,” spotlighting Helm and Smith, who helped the Blue Devils hold on. “I knew the seniors would take care of things,” he said.
Helm scored all of her points in the second half. Kayla Dowler added 11 points, and Alix Ezell had eight in the win.
Dallas McCormick had 21 points for Heritage (12-14, 2-8), which trailed by as many as 12 points before making a final charge. Desirae Westerfield added 12 points for coach Kami White’s Hawks, who were spurred on by a Senior Night crowd.
The reward for Villa Grove (8-0 in the LOVC) making school history? A regional opener against small-school power Shiloh, which split with the Blue Devils this season.