DU QUOIN — Carterville came into Tuesday as the second-ranked team in Class 2A and proved why with a 57-30 victory over the Du Quoin.
Carterville (20-1, 7-0) stays perfect in the SIRR-Mississippi and also celebrate another season milestone, as senior Megan Barton surpassed 1,000 career points after scoring the opening basket of the second quarter.
“It’s a great honor for Megan and well-deserved for how hard she works,” said Carterville coach Matt Crain. “It’s good when you’re a coach and you get to watch how hard these kids work and see them achieve these milestones.”
While Jeniah Thompson got into some early foul trouble for Carterville, the Lions were led in her absence by Barton and sophomore Alecia Doyle.
Doyle scored Carterville’s first seven points of the game before Barton checked into the scoring column with a putback layup after reeling in an offensive rebound. Doyle and Barton were all over the boards with 12 of their teams 22 rebounds in the first half.
Du Quoin’s offense stalled after getting two early 3-pointers from Bailey Harsy to lead 6-2. The Lady Indians (10-10, 2-4) went on a four minute scoring drought, while the Lions built their lead up to 14-6 after Barton capped off a 12-0 run with a wide open three.
“I thought we came out really well and matched their intensity with those two three’s from Bailey,” said Du Quoin coach Shawn File. “Carterville just runs the floor so well and are so good in transition. One of our points that we talked about before the ball game was to make them score in the half court. We knew they were going to hit shots because they’re a very good scoring team.”
Barton and Doyle matched each other with seven points in the first quarter to give Carterville an 18-11 advantage. Barton added nine more points to her total in the second quarter to help the Lions go into the half ahead 32-18.
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Thompson didn’t see much of the court in the first half for Carterville after picking up her third foul with 5:08 remaining in the second quarter. The SIU commit finished with just two points on as many attempts before heading to the locker room.
Hard to find any faults on Carterville at this point in the season, but the message from Coach Crain at halftime was to step it up on defense and rebound better in the second half.
The Lions heard their coach loud and clear by outscoring Du Quoin 17-1 in the third quarter with Thompson back in the mix. Barton began the quarter with back-to-back buckets before Abbey Crain rattled home a three-pointer with 3:25 remaining in the quarter to give Carterville a 39-19 advantage.
Barton and Crain would score the teams next six points before Thompson closed out 13-0 run with her toughest layup of the night to put the Lions lead at 30 with 15 seconds remaining.
Coach Crain appreciated his starters adjustments and rewarded them by putting in the second string with a running clock in the fourth quarter.
“I got after them a little bit at halftime because of the effort defensively,” said Crain. “I told them that I was proud with how they responded and was most happy to see them hold a team that had been scoring the ball well recently to one point in the third quarter.”
Barton finished her night with a team-high 22 points and eight rebounds, while Crain finished second on the team with 13 points. Doyle ended her night with nine points and Kasha Ward gave her team good minutes off the bench with six points and three rebounds.
Du Quoin (10-10, 2-4) was led in scoring by Harsy with nine points and Lauren Heape contributed five points.
Carterville will hit the road and take on Vienna (10-8) at 7:45 p.m. on Thursday.
Du Quoin will play another home conference game against Benton (13-8, 5-1) at 7 p.m. on Thursday.