DU QUOIN – Arie Ciganovich and two-time defending champion Murphysboro started the season off with a bang with Ciganovich swishing a school record seven 3-pointers to lead the Red Devils to a 59-23 win over Woodlawn to open the Du Quoin Lady Indians Tip-Off Classic Monday.
"We looked a little better tonight against them than we did last year," said Murphysboro coach Keith Jones. "We had a slow start last year in this tournament and that was something we didn’t want to do this year."
The Red Devils went on three long scoring streaks to take control of the game. The first was 14 points covering a 6:31 span at the end of first and the beginning of the second quarter. The second lasted 2:56 in the second quarter and the third went 2:37 in the third quarter.
"We’ve been a streaky scoring team the last few years," Jones said. "When it rains it pours and then sometimes we go in droughts."
The tournament resumes Wednesday with Christopher playing Woodlawn at 6 p.m. followed by Murphysboro taking on Du Quoin. The Lady Indians beat Johnston City, 40-22, in the second game.
"I thought we did a decent job early, but when they got going they didn’t seem to miss," said Woodlawn coach Matt Patterson. "They are tough to guard. They are good off the dribble and they had a couple kids who knocked some shots down."
Ciganovich finished with 25 points while Kayla Walker made nine two-point baskets to finish with 20 points.
"We had a pre-game the other day and I was hitting, so when I woke up this morning I felt like I might break the record," Ciganovich said.
After Walker opened the game with a jumper to give the Red Devils the lead Callie Lueking scored from under the basket and then two minutes later sank a layup to give the Lady Cardinals the lead 4-2 with 5:12 left in the first quarter. Lueking finished with a team-high eight points.
Clarese Hibbler-Johnson drew a foul 39 seconds later and split her two free throws and Walker followed with a layup to regain the lead for the Red Devils and start the 14-0 run that lasted the remaining 4:33 of the first quarter and the first 1:58 of the second to give Murphysboro an insurmountable 16-4 lead.
Ciganovich got her record-breaking night started with her first 3-pointer from the right side with 44 seconds left in the first quarter to up the lead to 10-4 and then sank her second from the left side with 1:58 into the second to end the run.
Bella Brumbaugh snapped the streak with a pull-up jumper, but that didn’t stop the Red Devils’ momentum. Madison LaBranche got Murphysboro going again when she split a pair of free throws with five minutes remaining in the half
LaBranche kept the second streak going with a layup and Ciganovich then stole the ball and went the length of the court for a layup. Island Dooley picked off a pass and fed LaBranche, who scored on a stickback.
LaBranche then blocked a shot, pick up the ball, ran the length of the court and scored while being fouled and the junior forward made her free throw for a three-point play.
Ciganovich then swished her third from beyond the arc from the right side again to complete a 13-0 run to extend the Red Devil’s lead to 29-6 with 2:04 left in the second quarter. Brumbaugh and LaBranch traded buckets and the Red Devils took a 31-8 lead at the half.
Lueking opened the third quarter with a pair of free throws and a layup, but Murphysboro third run started with Hibbler-Johnson’s three-point play on a layup and a free throw.
Ciganovich then took over stealing the ball and feeding Hibbler-Johnson for a layup and then sinking a 3-pointer from the top of the key and another on the left side to complete the 11-0 run that extend the lead to 42-12 with 4:02 left in the third. Her fifth 3-pointer tied her personal best in a game, which she did twice last January in games against Herrin and West Frankfort.
Ciganovich then broke her own record and tied the school record set by Johnna Hines on November 25, 2014 against Johnston City on a swisher from the left side at the third quarter buzzer.
The senior guard broke the record with 10.6 left in the game on a long shot from the right side.