In what figured to be a battle of all-state post players, the difference proved to be Galesburg’s relentless guards.
Flustered by the Silver Streaks’ deep and hounding backcourt, the Breese Central girls basketball team lost 51-33 on Saturday afternoon at John Thiel Gymnasium in the BSN Shootout.
“Their pressure on the perimeter really disrupted our offense, and we couldn’t get anything going,” Cougars coach Nathan Rueter said.
While 6-foot-2 Central forward Kendra Wilken and 6-foot Streaks forward Shayli Florine, a McKendree University signee, went at one another, the guards for Class 3A No. 4 Galesburg (26-2) left the Class 2A No. 1 Cougars (22-4) little room for error.
Wilken recorded team highs of 18 points and eight rebounds while fighting through double- and triple-teams on the block, but the Cougars got little production outside of their Saint Louis University recruit.
No other Central player had more than five points, and Wilken was the only one with more than one field goal. The Cougars also played without top guard Faye Meissner, who was nursing a leg injury.
Galesburg recorded eight steals, all from guards Kylee Townsell (3), Kaylah Townsell (2), Kailyn Boydstun (1), Raina Gully (1) and Lexi Daniels (1). Central finished with 16 turnovers, including seven in a decisive second quarter.
“Their guards were fast and strong,” Wilken said. “I think we came out a little scared, and we were having trouble reversing the ball.”
The Cougars had an opening when Florine, who posted a game-high 20 points and eight rebounds, picked up her second foul late in the first quarter and sat the rest of the half. A Grace Yaunches 3-pointer to open the second tied it at 11, but the Streaks answered with a 10-0 run for a lasting lead.
“We knew coming (Florine) wasn’t going to be the one who beat us,” Rueter said. “We knew it was their guards that we had to handle, and we didn’t do that very well.”
Daniels scored eight of her 14 points during that stretch, hitting two of her four 3s and adding a layup off of a steal that helped Galesburg to a 23-15 halftime lead.
“We have so much depth that if someone goes out like I did today, we have other people who step up,” Florine said.
The Cougars got within 25-18 early in the third, but Galesburg led by double digits nearly the entire second half. The Streaks’ advantage ballooned to as much as 21 in the fourth.
“We don’t worry about size of school or ranking,” Rueter said. “We wanted the game because it’s a quality opponent, but I’m a little disappointed at the showing we had out here today.”