MASCOUTAH — Somewhat in the shadows, Nashville junior Hannah Yung picked the perfect time to step on center stage Saturday at the Mascoutah Girls Basketball Invitational.
Yung scored six of her 11 points in the third quarter to help give Nashville the lead and the Hornettes defeated Central 44-31 in the title game before a large turnout at Mascoutah High School.
Beaten in the title game the last two years, the Hornettes trailed by as many as six points in the first half and 18-16 at halftime.
But 3-point baskets by Yung and sophomore Jordi Harre followed by a conventional three-point play from Yung put Nashville (16-0) up 27-20 with 3:36 remaining in the third quarter.
Central (15-2) closed to within 29-26 late in the period on a Maddie Timmermann hoop, but baskets from the Hornettes' Shawn Rennegarbe and Erica Brown put Nashville up 34-28 entering the final period.
Nashville managed only two field goals in the final period, but made six of its eight free throws as it continued to expand its lead over the cold-shooting Cougars.
The Mascoutah title is the first for Nashville, which had lost to Highland and Mater Dei, respectively, in the last two championship games.
"It's great for the program. We've had a lot of teams -- and a lot of good teams -- in this tournament in the past and we've come up short,'' Nashville coach Wayne Harre said. "We were fortunate to win tonight.
"We got down six (points), but I thought our kids stayed with it. That's a very good basketball team we beat tonight.''
Yung and Jordi Harre paced Nashville with 11 points apiece, while Central's Timmermann led all scorers with 12 points.
Jordi Harre and Rennegarbe highlighted the all-tournament first team, which also included Okawville's Megan Wienstroer and Timmermann and Central's April Gebke.
Chosen to the second team were Erica Brown of Nashville, Jasmine Bonds of O'Fallon, Shay Fluker of Belleville West, Anna Lampe of Mater Dei and Aniecia Brewster of Belleville East.
Okawville 51, Belleville East 44
Senior Megan Wienstroer stepped up at crunch time for the second straight night with nine fourth-quarter points -- including a crucial 3-pointer in the final three minutes -- as Okawville claimed the third-place trophy with a win over Belleville East.
The Lady Rockets (12-5), who led 28-25 at halftime and 37-35 after three quarters, were up 43-40 with 2:42 remaining when Wienstroer nailed her fourth 3 of the game to put her team up by six.
It was a Wienstroer layup at the buzzer that had given Okawville a win over Mater Dei on Friday.
East (9-7) closed to within three points, but a free throw by Janel Lake and four straight free throws from Wienstroer locked up the win for Okawville.
"To be a small school and to be able to beat these bigger schools is big for our kids,'' Okawville coach Michelle Hasheider-Burianek said. "I was pleased with how we were able to hold our composure, but this group of seniors has been together for a long time. I thought we handled the situation well.''
Wienstroer led Okawville (12-5) with 22 points. Melissa Bridges paced East with 14.
Mater Dei 52, Belleville West 41
Bouncing back from an overtime loss to Okawville, the Knights (15-1) got a combined 27 points from seniors Emily Koelling and Anna Lampe as they defeated Belleville West for the third time this season.
Mater Dei, which also owned victories over West in the regular season and in the title game of the Alton Turkey Tournament, led just 36-34 after three quarters, but Koelling scored six points and Paige Richards added four, as the Knights broke the game open in the final period.
The Knights were the tournament's defending champion.
"It wasn't what we came in here for, but after a tough loss last night, I thought we bounced back and played well today,'' Knights coach Dave Kohnen said. "Belleville West is a very athletic team and they're improving every game.''
Shay Fluker scored 21 points for West (9-5).
O'Fallon 59, Althoff 50
After needing a month to record two wins, the Panthers picked up their third in three days with a victory over Althoff.
Junior guard Blair Butler scored a career-high 21 points while Jasmine Bonds added 21 for O'Fallon, which entered play on Thursday with a 2-6 record and walked out Saturday with a mark of 5-7.
"There is no doubt that we're significantly better now than we were 10 games ago when we opened the season at Chatham-Glenwood,'' Panthers coach Ryan Massey said. "This is a very enjoyable group of girls to coach, because they come in every day and work hard. They are very receptive and eager to learn."
Althoff received 18 points from senior Kymber Hill and 10 from junior Rachel Kaltwasser.
Nashville 41, Belleville East 25
Just 12 hours removed from a victory over Belleville West, the Hornettes jumped out to a quick lead and never trailed in a semifinal win over the Lancers.
Jordi Harre scored seven first-quarter points and Nashville played its trademark suffocating defense, seizing a 16-2 lead just 10 minutes into the game.
East would get no closer than seven points the rest of the way.
"I was a little concerned how we would react after playing West in a very physical game on Friday, but we came out and played with a lot of energy,'' Nashville coach Wayne Harre said. "Also the job that (Erica) Brown did on Aniecia (Brewster) was a key for us as well.
"(Shawn) Rennegarbe was also on her a bit, but Erica was on her most of the time.''
Brewster, who scored 25 points with eight steals in the Lancers' quarterfinal win over Highland on Friday, was held to just two points by the Hornettes.
Harre had 12 points to pace Nashville, while Brown and Rennegarbe had 10 apiece. Montira Mosby led the Lancers with 12 points.
Central 53, Okawville 39
One night after a somewhat lackluster defensive effort, the Cougars held Okawville to just 15 second-half points and pulled away for a semifinal victory.
Runner-up at the 2012 Class 2A state tournament, Central got 17 points from freshman Kendra Wilken and 15 from junior Maddie Timmermann, but the difference was at the defensive end where Central broke open a close game with an excellent second-half effort.
"We played pretty well defensively. April (Gebke) getting in foul trouble in the first half kind of took away some of the things we wanted to do defensively, but luckily we got her back in the second half and that's when we were able to open the lead,'' Cougars coach Nathan Rueter said. "Torre Kohrmann did a nice job on (Megan) Wienstroer and that's a tough job, because she's constantly moving and cutting. But we were able to bring April in during the second half to help out.
"Our defensive intensity was much better. I was pleased.''
Wienstroer led Okawville with 15 points.
Belleville West 56, Highland 50
Sophomores Imani Berry and Shay Fluker combined for 43 points as the Maroons held off Highland (7-7).
Berry led West with 22 points while Fluker chipped in with 21.
Sophomore Olivia LaPorta paced Highland with 14 points.
Mater Dei 71, Carbondale 36
Showing no signs of a letdown after suffering their first loss of the season on Friday, the Knights rolled over the Terriers and into the fifth-place game.
Emily Koelling paced the Mater Dei with 21 points, while junior Lindsey Perkes scored 13.