Lady Lancers best Crusaders in tourney

Belleville East coach Amanda Kemezys was only really satisfied with one quarter her squad played on Saturday night.

But what a quarter it was.

The Lady Lancers outscored Althoff 23-3 in the second quarter on their way to a 64-50 win over the Crusaders in the consolation championship game at the Salem Thanksgiving Tournament.

East (4-1) took over the game with its high-pressure defense, forcing multiple turnovers which led to several easy baskets just before halftime.

“We like to play with that fast tempo,” Kemezys said. “We play with that mentality that, they might stay with us for a little bit, but eventually, if we keep plugging away, they can’t stay with us the whole game.”

Althoff (2-3) fell behind 12-5 early in the first quarter but finished the period on a 12-0 run, as Kyleigh Vaught drained a 3-pointer and a layup to give the Crusaders a 17-12 lead.

The Lancers responded with a 16-0 run to open the second, spurred by three steals and seven points by Kaylah Rainey. Althoff’s Gabby Siekmann stopped the run with a 3-pointer, but East then closed on a 7-0 run to take a commanding 35-20 halftime lead.

“They have five quick guards and we didn’t handle their pressure very well,” Althoff coach Nick Knolhoff said. “We had silly turnovers. Getting outscored 23-3 in the second quarter really hurt us.”

East leaves with the consolation trophy despite going 4-1 at the tournament. A 4-point loss to host Salem last week led to a three-way tie between East, Salem and Highland, and the Lancers were the odd team out due to tiebreakers.

Key Moments

East had a 20-point lead late, but Vaught drained two long 3-pointers in the final 40 seconds. She hit four treys overall and led all scorers with 25 points. Althoff actually outscored East by six points in the first, third and fourth quarters.

Key Performers

Rainey finished with 17 points for the Lancers, leading three players in double digits. Brittney Nitz and Bryce Dowell each scored 11, and Grace Tantillo added 8. Ellie Martz scored 8 points for the Crusaders.

What’s Next

Althoff hosts Marion at 6:15 p.m. Monday. Belleville East opens Southwestern Conference play by hosting Alton at 6 p.m. Tuesday.