The inside-outside attack of the Freeburg Midgets proved far too much for the Roxana Shells to handle Tuesday in the opening round of the Lebanon Greyhounds Christmas Basketball Tournament.
Abby Mirly and sharpshooting guard Lily Oliver connected on three 3-point field goals each while junior center Colleen Cockrell scored 18 points as the second-seeded Midgets rolled past 15th-seeded Roxana 55-24 before a sparse crowd at Lebanon High School.
With Oliver connecting on her first two 3-point attempts and Mirly and Kayla Mueller also adding 3-point jumpers, Freeburg (6-3) raced out to a 15-8 lead after one quarter. Roxana, which committed 12 first turnovers, would get no closer as the Midgets (6-3) added to their lead throughout and cruised into a quarterfinal round game Wednesday against DuQuoin.
But while the Midgets’ offense kept the mistake-prone Shells from providing much of a challenge, what really made veteran coach Lori Crunk happy was the way her team responded on the defensive end of the court in the second half.
Roxana scored just seven points in the final two quarters.
“I wasn’t pleased at how we played on defense in the first two quarters, and I let them (the team) know about it at halftime,” Crunk said. “I thought we played much better in the second half on defense.”
While the Midgets dominated from the perimeter with five 3-point field goals in the first half, the 6-foot Cockrell went to work in the post in the third quarter. Connecting on all four of her attempts, Cockrell scored nine of her 18 points in the third quarter, which ended with Freeburg leading 43-22.
“Colleen is a strong player inside for us and she played well today,” Crunk said. “We really shot the ball well in the first half. We’re having a good year.”
Carlyle 40, New Athens 29
Brooklynn Smith scored 13 points as the streaking Indians ran their winning streak to four with a victory over their Cahokia Conference rivals.
Carlyle, which won only one game a year ago, will take a 10-5 record into its quarterfinal round game with (Centralia) Christ Our Rock Lutheran on Wednesday. Sophomore Molly Diekemeper added 10 points for Carlyle.
Centralia Christ Our Rock Lutheran 56, Marissa 30
Caroline Beohne led a trio of players in double figures with 13 points as third-seeded Christ Our Rock Lutheran stormed past the Marissa Meteors. Senior Kenzie Kern led Marissa (4-7) with 11 points.
DuQuoin 54, Red Bud 42
Junior Chloe Hill scored 20 points as the 10th-seeded Indians pulled off the first upset of the tournament with a win over the seventh-seeded Musketeers.
High-scoring junior Sophie Richards led Red Bud (11-5) with 19 points.
Columbia 70, Chester 34
Whitney Edwards scored 23 points as the sixth-seeded Eagles led from start to finish in their opening-round win.
Fresh off a championship effort at the Gibault Candy Cane Classic, Columbia (8-5) jumped out to a 44-6 halftime lead and coasted in the final two quarters.
Aryn Henke chipped in with 14 points and Sophia Bonaldi added 11 for the Eagles.
Lebanon 48, Sparta 19
All-state senior guard Kendra Bass scored 22 points as the top-seeded and host Greyhounds romped past Sparta in the final first-round game.
Emily Reinneck added 10 points for the Greyhounds (13-0), who held Sparta to just nine points in the first three quarters.