Althoff senior Kyleigh Vaught scored a career high 42 points, but it was the play of Belleville East junior Grace Tantillo that made the difference Tuesday in a girls nonconference basketball game.
Tantillo broke a 59-all tie with a 10 foot jumper with just more than a minute remaining to break a 59-all tie and combined with Jailyn McClenny and Brittney Nitz to make six of seven free throws in the final seconds as the Lancers posted a 66-61 win.
One of the top perimeter players in the metro-east, Vaught made her first two shots — both 3-point attempts — in the opening 56 seconds of the game and didn’t slow down the rest of the night. Unfortunately for the Crusaders, neither did the Lancers.
“She (Vaught) had a career night. The thing about it is that with the exception of the first two 3-point shots, we stayed right with her. Everything she threw up there was going in,” East coach Amanda Kemezys said. “I’m just very proud of my team. We lost a tough city game to Belleville West last night (Tuesday) and then having to come back the next night against another city rival — Althoff. That’s tough to do considering the emotion of a city game.”
“I was very pleased with the play of Grace (Tantille) and Destiny (Johnson). Grace had a career night of her own with 18 points and Destiny I thought did a nice job of playing hard. She scored, blocked a few shots and did a nice job on the boards.”
Trailing 6-0 early, East (7-4) came back with a 14-0 run and led until Vaught her fourth 3-point shot of the night to put Althoff up by a point late in the third quarter.
Vaught would finish with five 3-point baskets. Her jumper with 2:32 remaining in the fourth quarter gave Althoff its final lead of the game at 57-55.
The Lancers victory means that there is no city champion in Belleville this year. Althoff defeated Belleville West last week and Belleville West beat Belleville East on Tuesday.
“Kyleigh was spectacular tonight,” Crusaders coach Nick Knolhoff said. “We played zone defense hoping to take away their guards. But their post players really hurt us.”