Lincoln-Way Central shoots more three-pointers in the first quarter than some teams do entire games.
When the Knights get hot early, it can knock an opponent back on its heels.
So it was Monday in an opening-day contest at the Lincoln-Way East Medieval Classic, when three different Central players went long-distance to build a quick 11-4 lead over Lincoln-Way North.
“It was a little intimidating,” Phoenix guard Kayla Kieklak said. “We just had to keep a high hand on the shooters and keep playing our D.”
Central eventually hit for 15 threes, but North had plenty of answers and posted a 68-60 victory that put the Phoenix at 2-0 for the tourney.
Kieklak, in fact, had the most answers. The 5-5 sophomore attacked the basket with a fury, scoring 29 points, 16 of them coming from the free-throw line. Sam Pietruszynski added seven points and six rebounds, Shanna Coyle seven points, Ellen Graham six points and 11 rebounds and Kristen Horlacher six points and five rebounds for North (10-3).
Sami Wisniewski led the way for Central (5-6) with 20 points, while Candace Finnin added 12 and Rebecca Gorman nine.
North trailed until about the three-minute mark of the second period, when a free throw by Amy Vos tied the game at 20-all and triggered a five-possession scoring streak. The highlights were three-pointers by Kieklak and Allyson Cappel and a three-point play by Coyle.
North led by as much as 37-29 before Gorman and Taylor Green hit back-to-back threes late to get the Knights within 37-35 at the half.
The Phoenix seized control once more in the third period, leading by as many as 15 points as Kieklak got to the line four times and totaled 11 points against Central’s trapping, pressure defense.
“We really got control (against) the press,” Kieklak said. “They kept running three or four girls at us. All we had to do was get the ball down the floor and we had an easy layup.”
Central, which made seven three-pointers compared to just one field goal in the second half, was able to use the treys to climb back into contention. The Knights got within 65-59 after a three by Faith Rudnick with 59.1 seconds left, but went 0-for-5 from the floor the rest of the way.
Central finished 0-2 record-wise for the day.
“I thought we gave good effort,” Central coach Chris Fetherling said. “We played two really good teams (Providence and North), and I think in the second game we were a little gassed. But I thought we really toughed it out mentally, and kept playing. I was proud of the energy.”
Lincoln-Way North 55, Plainfield South 34: Kayla Kieklak went 10-for-10 from the free-throw line and tallied 17 points, while Shannon Coyle added 10 points off the bench for North.
Providence 88, Lincoln-Way Central 83: Alyssa Jurges scored a school-record 36 points while Marybeth Galick had 18 points and Mary Fashingbauer 14 points and 18 rebounds for Providence. Candace Finnin (16 points) and Faith Rudnick (15 points) paced Central.
Providence 61, Plainfield South 41: Jurges (25 points) and Fashingbauer (13 points) again led the way for Providence (12-3), which won its second game of the day. Tyler Everett scored 17 points for Plainfield South.