Belleville West junior guard Kaylee Hanger scored a career high 19 points, three of which came on an old-fashioned three-point play with 32 seconds left in the game, to help the Maroons defeat Althoff 57-51 in the quarterfinals of the Mascoutah High School Girls Holiday Invitational Basketball Tournament.
Althoff (10-6) defeated West when the two city rivals met earlier in December, but trailed 51-41 with about three minutes to go. But when West junior Sydney Thurwalker picked up her fifth foul, the Crusaders were able to rally. West was already shorthanded, missing sophomore guard Chamya Darough.
Althoff tied the game at 51 with 1:10 to play when senior Maggie Reimer made two free throws. West sophomore B’Aunce Carter then made a free throw to help the Maroons regain the lead.
Althoff then missed a shot and Hanger grabbed the rebound, taking the ball the length of the court for an off-balance layup while being fouled. She completed the three-point play to give West a 55-51 lead.
“That was one of those situations where Kaylee wasn’t going to give the ball up. Sometimes when you flip the ball at the rim, it goes in. This time, for us, it did,” Maroons coach Seth Garrett said. “It was a big shot.”
The win moves Belleville West into Thursday’s tournament semifinals against Mater Dei at 1 p.m. Defending champion Highland will take on Belleville East in the first semifinal at 11:30 a.m. The two winners will play for the tournament championship at 7 p.m.
Reimer had 21 points and reserve Tiffani Siekmann had 14 points in Althoff’s loss. The Crusaders will play Okawville in a fifth-place semifinal at 10 a.m. Thursday.
Thurwalker and Carter both scored 16 points for West. Hanger led the attack with 19. Those three players combined for 25 of the Maroons 29 points in the second half.
Back-to-back baskets by Carter and Thurwalker gave West a 51-41 lead with 3:21 remaining.
But just as quickly, Althoff responded with A 3-pointer by Amanda Kaltwasser, followed by a 3-pointer by Siekmann and two free throws each by Vaught and Reimer to tie the game at 51.