CARBONDALE — Jeniah Thompson scored 16 points, earned MVP honors and helped Carterville defeat Carbondale, 50-42, Saturday in the championship game of the 39th Annual Carbondale Mid-Winter Classic in girls prep basketball.
Thompson scored 12 points in the first half, and the Lions held a three-point edge at halftime. But the Lions struggled on offense in the third quarter, and Carbondale was able to keep its deficit at single digits.
“I think playing three days in a row affected both teams, and that’s why there were a lot of missed easy opportunities,” said Carterville coach Matt Crain. “Carbondale had a good tournament, but I’m very proud of my girls.”
After Thompson scored a basket and assisted on another to Megan Barton, Carterville took a 35-28 lead just one minute into the third quarter. Abbey Crain made a bucket in the paint to keep it a seven-point advantage at the 5:55 mark of the third period.
But the Terriers held Carterville without a point for the next five and a half minutes. The only problem for Carbondale was that it only mustered two points during that stretch.
“We’re not content that it was closer than the last time we played them; big deal,” said Carbondale coach Marialice Jenkins. “We were in positions to win this ball game, and then we got away from getting the ball to our post players. We just had some not great decisions being made at key moments.”
Mackenzie Rogman ended Carterville’s long scoring slump with a basket late in the third quarter. Crain and Barton scored all of the points during a 9-3 run for the Lions early in the fourth quarter.
That made it a 48-35 contest, but the Terriers responded with a 7-0 run to keep things interesting.
“I knew they were going to get better, and Marialice does a great job with that program,” Coach Crain said. “We won it last year, and this is their floor and their tournament, and they want it back.”
Atlexus Green canned a triple, Brianna Simelton made a jump shot, and Maddie Doan scored a basket. That made it a six-point game with 35 seconds to play. But the Terriers didn’t have quite enough in the end.
Barton joined Thompson on the all-tournament team for Carterville. Green and Doan were honored for the Terriers. Jasa Bell (Marion) and Savannah Childers (Mount Vernon) also made the all-tournament team.
“She is so strong, and even though she’s a sophomore, she is experienced,” Coach Crain said of Thompson. “She passes and rebounds and does so many things well. I always tell her I just want her to stuff the stat sheet. She’s done a great job for us.”
Carterville improved to 18-4 overall, and Carbondale fell to 13-8. Simelton paced the Terriers with 15 points. Barton added 13 for Carterville, and Crain had 10.