HIGHLAND — Central senior Maddie Timmermann has shown throughout her career that she has the ability to be the dominant player on the basketball court without scoring a lot of points.
On Saturday, Timmermann, the Cougars most versatile player, was also their best as she led undefeated Central to a second straight championship at the Scott Credit Union/Highland Girls Basketball Tournament.
One of three Cougars to score in double figures, Timmermann scored nine of her 18 points in the second quarter and Central never looked back as they defeated Belleville West 53-43 in the title game before a large crowd at Highland High School.
A 5-foot-10-inch forward, Timmermann tallied all but two of the Cougars' 11 points in the second quarter as Central (24-0) took a 27-21 lead into halftime.
Sophomore Kendra Wilken, recovered after taking a hard fall earlier in the game, tallied seven points in the third quarter as the Cougars broke the game open against the cold-shooting Maroons.
Central led 42-29 after three quarters and West, playing in its third tournament title game of the season, never got any closer than 10 the rest of the afternoon.
Wilken added 15 points and spark-plug senior guard Torre Kohrmann chipped in with 13 for Central.
But it was Timmermann, chosen as the most valuable player of the 16-team event, who led the way.
"Maddie had a big game and a great tournament. She's kind of the glue who holds our team together and that's taking nothing away from Torre (Kohrmann), who is known for doing a lot of the same things,'' Central coach Nathan Rueter said. "But Maddie just has a knack for hitting a big shot or making a great pass at the crucial time. She's such a great passer.
"We're just fortunate to have the kids on the team that we have, including her.''
Beaten by Central in the title game of the Mascoutah Holiday Tournament last month, West once again gave one of the top teams in the state a battle for over three quarters.
With juniors Shay Fluker and Imani Berry combining for 34 of the Maroons' 43 points, West fell short once again.
"I thought the difference in the game was that we didn't shoot well. And for the most part, I thought our shot selection was pretty good,'' West coach Clayton Fisher said. "We had our chances and against that team if you aren't knocking down your chances, you're in trouble. We've got to get Jesheon (Cooper) more touches inside.
"Defensively, we could guard one of their post players. But we had trouble guarding two. Both Timmermann and Wilken are both tough to stop."
The 6-5 Cooper was a force inside as she blocked several and altered many other Central shots. But with the 6-1 Wilken and 5-10 Timmermann surrounding her, the Maroons senior was a not a factor on the offensive end.
"We tweeked our zone scheme a little bit from the first time we played them and tried to do a better job of covering her,'' Rueter said. "We don't see a kid of that size normally, so it's good for us to play somebody like this (West)
"It's good to be able to come in and defend our championship. But you're looking at two totally different teams. To be able to come in and have the same kind of success is a testament to the overall ability of the entire team.''
Teutopolis 39, Mater Dei 29
Stymied by an efficient Mater Dei offense for three quarters, the Wooden Shoes used a 17-3 run in the final period to post a come-from-behind win in the third-place contest.
Mater Dei (14-8), getting 14 points from junior Lauren Donnewald, held a 26-22 lead before the Wooden Shoes (15-4) Madeline Hartke (11 points) and Cierra Thompson (10) began the comeback.
"I thought we did a good of executing and running our offense for three quarters. In the fourth quarter we stopped doing that,'' Knights coach David Kohnen said. "I have no explanation for it.''
Nashville 51, Highland 39
Junior Jordi Harre hit four straight 3-point shots in a five-minute span in the second quarter to give the defending Class 2A state champion Hornettes a big early lead as they went on for a win in the fifth-place game.
Harre, who would sink five 3-pointers and finish with 23 points, led the way for Nashville (21-2), which built a big lead then withstood a third-quarter rally by the host school.
"We had been struggling on the offensive end, so to be able to shoot the ball well was good to see,'' Nashville coach Wayne Harre said. "I was very pleased with our defense. Highland is a team which has good athletes who like to get up and down the court. To be able to hold them to 39 points was a good effort by the girls.''
Shawn Rennegarbe added 21 points for Nashville. Highland junior Olivia LaPorta led all scorers with 24 points.
The Bulldogs fall to 14-9 on the season.
O'Fallon 66, Nokomis 48
Senior Jasmine Bonds scored 21 as the hot-shooting Panthers rolled past Nokomis in the consolation title game.
The Panthers (12-8), which also won the consolation title at the Mascoutah Invitational in December, used the 3-point shooting of Bonds and the hot-hand of senior Blair Butler to take an early lead and then rolled down the stretch to beat the Redskins.
"I've said all year that I thought we had a good shooting team and today we didn't force shots and when we got good, open looks we were able to knock them down,'' Panthers coach Ryan Massey said. "Jasmine and Blair both hit some big shots and gave us a lift and I thought Ally (Warren) did a nice job on defense and gave us a lift on the offensive end as well.
"This is as well as we've played since Christmas. Hopefully we can take this 3-1 finish here and build on it.''
Warren added 11 points for O'Fallon. Nokomis junior Ashley Schneider led all scorers with 24 points.
Joining tournament MVP Timmermann as first-team all-tournament selections were Shay Fluker of Bellleville West, Kendra Wilken of Central, Shawn Rennegarbe of Nashville and Ashley Schneider of Nokomis.
Second-team honorees were Lauren Donnewald of Mater Dei, Madeline Hartke of Teutopolis, Olivia LaPorta of Highland, Imani Berry of Belleville West and Torre Kohrmann of Central.