Spurred on by the return of all-state senior guard Madison Hackstadt, the Okawville Rockets used a second-quarter spurt Saturday to soar into the second round of the Highland Scott Credit Union Girls Basketball Tournament.
Senior guard Casean Tebbe scored 11 of her 13 points in the first half, and the Rockets’ inside strength wore down the Carlyle Indians in the final two quarters as Okawville ended a five-game slide with a 48-30 win.
Connecting on five of its first six shots, Okawville (13-6) led 21-12 after one quarter as Tebbe and Audrey Jansen combined for 13 points. Ranked 10th in the Class 1A state poll, the Rockets then held Carlyle to just three points in the second quarter as they expanded their lead to 28-15.
Carlyle, which dropped its fifth straight game after an 11-5 start, would get no closer than nine points in the second half.
Hackstadt, a second-team all-state selection a year ago and a Southern Illinois University Edwardsville recruit, made her season debut Thursday in the Rockets’ loss to Wesclin. The 6-foot senior suffered a knee injury in the opening seconds of Okawville’s season-opener in November.
After playing sparingly Thursday, Hackstadt played more than half the game Saturday, scoring three points.
“She (Hackstadt) has been with and part of the team all season. But having her on the court is a big lift for this basketball team,” Okawville coach Michelle Hasheider-Burianek said.
Audrey Jansen added 11 points for Okawville, which will take on Central in a quarterfinal game at 8:30 p.m. Monday. Sophomore Molly Diekemper led Carlyle with 11 points.
Injuries to Hackstadt and others, including Madelyn Tepe, have hindered the progress of the Rockets this season. But now, with a little less than a month remaining in the regular season, Okawville could be getting healthy at just the right time.
“There is no doubt that with the injuries and illnesses we’ve had that it’s held us back. Hopefully we’re getting healthy now,” Hasheider-Burianek said. “I was pleased with our effort today. We got the ball down to our post players in the first half, and they converted. Audrey (Jansen) had a nice game for us.”