CHAMPAIGN — Shooting sprees are good if they occur on a basketball court with a ball in your hands.
Centennial's Chantal Meacham displayed shooting prowess beyond good in the final quarter of Friday's marquee matchup in St. Thomas More's Blue Star girls' basketball classic.
In a game where the host Sabers were tied (26-26) in the second half and were within striking distance (46-39) with less than 4 1/2 minutes left, the junior sharpshooter nailed four final-period three-pointers as state-ranked Centennial opened a lead and pulled away, 63-47.
"She's a kid who turns it on when you get on her," Centennial coach Susan Thomas said. "She missed some blockouts on the defensive end, and I had to get on her. I'll do that more often if she hits four threes in a quarter."
Meacham scored a game-high 20 points. She was 5 of 7 from beyond the three-point arc. Teammates Chelsea Cross (12 points) and Stacia Simmons (10 points) also reached double figures.
The Sabers (1-1) pulled into their last tie, 26-26, on a Brooke Schmidt layup less than three minutes after halftime. The Chargers had seven third-period baskets, and they came from six players. Katelynn Martinez was the only Charger with more than one basket.
"One thing about our team is we have very unselfish players and they're willing to share the ball," Thomas said.
She wasn't particularly happy when the Sabers went to a late-game zone.
"Not really," she said, "because we don't practice against a zone a lot."
Freshman Lexi Wallen led the Sabers (14 points). Teammates Erica Wallen (12 points) and Jade Brinkoetter (10 points) also scored in double figures.
The Sabers made an impression on the Centennial coach.
"They have good guard play and a physical post, and that's a good combination," Thomas said. "They are very disciplined and do the little things well."
Mahomet-Seymour 39, Danville 28. Depending on the point of view, Mahomet-Seymour either started too slow or too fast. Danville scored the first seven points, but M-S coach Nathan Seal disdained the slow-start notion.
"We were going at too quick of a tempo," Seal said. "We slowed it down and moved to more of a halfcourt offense."
M-S (2-1) held Danville without a field goal for a 10:12 stretch of the opening half, building a 15-8 lead it never lost. The Vikings (0-2) never led after Marisa Ellis converted a steal into two points, lifting M-S into an 8-7 edge.
Seal liked the way his team bounced back from a Thursday loss.
"You'll have good nights and bad nights, and you have to have a short-term memory," he said. "Early in the season, you want to see improvement, and the second half, we showed improvement."
Kristen Belyea led M-S with 14 points. Maggie Schmidt had 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Alexus Jimson-Miller scored 11 points for the Vikings. J'Lynn Ayers had a game-high 14 rebounds.
Bismarck-Henning 42, Rantoul 17. Mike Stephens shook up his starting lineup, and he was pleased with the way his Blue Devils responded. B-H scored all 13 of the first-quarter points and forced the Eagles into 12 turnovers before they got on the board after 9:32.
"It gave us a big lift starting Lexi Ballard. She did a nice job on the point," Stephens said, "and Brooke Walsh did some good things inside."
The freshman Walsh tied for the team lead in rebounds (five) with Abby Bergman and Samantha Siddens. Bailey Bryant scored a game-high nine points for B-H (1-1), which led 40-7 after three quarters.
"Bailey woke up and played well," Stephens said. "We feel we could be deeper and a better offensive team than last year, but the one area I'm disappointed in is that we're not as sound defensively as we should be."
Rantoul's Hannah Wascher led the Eagles (0-2) with six points and all players with 10 rebounds.
"We have to cut down on turnovers," Rantoul coach Jeff McKaufsky said. "That's first and foremost, but in every aspect, we have to get better."
The best aspect through two games, Stephens said, is how hard his team is playing.
"I have some issues in some areas," he said, "but it's normally not about the effort."
Champaign Central 47, Monticello 31. Cheyenne Hedrington scored 13 points, and the Maroons outscored the Sages 12-1 in the final period.
Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin 44, Urbana 17. Jessica Mack scored 10 points for the Tigers.
St. Joseph-Ogden 52, Paxton-Buckley-Loda 45. All-tourney team pick Josey Fruhling scored 19 points and Hannah Graham added 16 as the Spartans won the Fisher/GCMS tourney.
GCMS 50, Schlarman 47. Regan Romshek scored 16 points as the Falcons won the third-place game.
LeRoy 51, Dunlap 42. Molly Marcum scored 16 points for the Panthers.
Oakwood 60, Hoopeston Area 39. Makenzie Baker scored 24 points as Oakwood won its McDonald's Comet Classic.
Blue Ridge 42, Westville 23. Jamison Brandt's 15 points powered the Knights in the Comet Classic.
Shiloh 53, Georgetown-Ridge Farm 37. Larissa Moses poured in 22 points for the Raiders in the Comet Classic victory.