SHG clamps down defensively after first quarter, knocks West Hancock out of postseason


West Hancock's Lillie Woodworth, left, drives the baseline during the first quarter of Monday's Class 2A regional semifinal against Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin at Camp Point, Ill. | Photo courtesy Mike Pritchard

CAMP POINT, Ill. — The West Hancock girls basketball team opened Monday night’s Class 2A regional semifinal game with an impressive 16-point first quarter against Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin.

Unfortunately, the Titans only scored 16 more points the rest of the game.

Sacred Heart-Griffin’s defense and a ball-control offense in the fourth quarter combined to eliminate West Hancock from the postseason 42-32 in the second game of a postseason doubleheader at Central High School.

The victory sends fourth-seeded Sacred Heart-Griffin (21-11) into the regional title game against top-seeded Central-Southeastern (26-2) at 7 p.m. Thursday. The winner advances to the Beardstown Sectional.

Even though her club’s season ended, West Hancock coach Jacey Hartweg remained upbeat.

“The foundation has been laid, and we’ll build off of this season,” said Hartweg, whose club ended 23-8. “We have a lot of returning players for next year.”

The Titans’ postseason roster included 11 underclassmen.

“Losing tonight just sucks, but we’re going to be better next season,” Hartweg said.

West Hancock exploded to a 16-8 lead during the first eight minutes of the game, fueled by Lillie Woodworth, who scored 13 of her game-leading 15 points in the opening quarter. That, however, was pretty much the highlight of the night for the Titans.

SHG was able to smother Woodworth the rest of the evening and force West Hancock into 22 turnovers while only committing 8.

The Cyclones gradually eased away from the Titans and entered the fourth quarter on top 32-26. That’s when the Cyclones shut the game down by holding the ball.

Sacred Heart-Griffin coach Steve Klunick said his team was willing to sit on the ball because West Hancock was willing to “sit back” in its defense and not force the issue.

Hartweg said a shot clock in high school basketball would be beneficial to prevent such stalling.

West Hancock did not score for more than seven minutes in the fourth quarter. Three baskets during the closing minute of play — all by freshman guard Grace Grothaus — made the final score more respectable. 

Klunick lauded the Cyclones’ defensive effort.

“We have looked good this year on defense,” he said. “But at times we’ve struggled on offense.”

West Hancock’s 6-foot-sophomore center, Jadyn Climer, led all rebounders with 10.

Sacred Heart-Griffin, which finished fourth in the Central State Eight Conference behind Lincoln, Chatham Glenwood and Springfield, produced three double-figure scorers in Callie Huston (14), Maggie Fleischli (10) and Izzy Hasselbrock (10).

Miss Clipping Out Stories to Save for Later?

Click the Purchase Story button below to order a print of this story. We will print it for you on matte photo paper to keep forever.

Related Articles