CARBONDALE — The Carbondale Terriers shook off a sluggish first quarter to put away Mascoutah, 57-38, and advance to the championship game for the fourth straight year at the Carbondale Mid-Winter Classic.
"The kids sat around and watched those first two games, so we talked about having energy to begin the game," said Carbondale coach Marialice Jenkins. "However, sometimes our energy goes in the wrong direction, but when we settled down, Johnecia Kyles and Megan Barton starting getting to the basket and that got us going. Defensively we did a pretty nice job getting our hands on a lot of balls (forcing 26 turnovers)."
Carbondale (2-0) will play Carterville (2-0) for the championship Saturday at 2 p.m. in a rematch of Carbondale’s first game of the season where Carterville won, 86-80, in overtime.
"Our goal every year is to get into the championship game," Jenkins said. "Carterville got us early, but it was our first game. They are a lot better, but we’re a lot better too. It’s going to come down to who finishes plays and who handles the basketball ball better."
The tournament concludes beginning with Marion (1-1) playing Mascoutah (0-2) at 11 a.m. followed by Mount Vernon (1-1) and Massac County (0-2).
The Terriers were led by Kyles and Barton with 12 points each with Maddie Doan adding 10 points off the bench.
"They had a good defense, but our offense overplayed them," Kyles said. "It took a little bit to get into the flow of things, but once we got going we couldn’t be stopped. We now get to play Carterville again, and hopefully we can give to them what they gave to us the first time."
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Kyles scored the first basket of the game at the 48 second mark. Brianna Simelton then stole the ball and fed Barton for an easy layup and the Terriers led 4-0.
Mascoutah recovered to take the lead on a 3-pointer by Erin Brooks followed by two baskets by Danee Strong. Strong led the Lady Indians with 12 points and Brooks added 11.
McKynlee Schwartz cut the lead back to one on a jumper in the lane. The teams traded baskets the rest of the first quarter with Kyles scoring with 23 seconds left to give the Terriers a one-point lead heading into the second quarter.
Strong made a pair of free throws to open the second quarter to regain the lead for Mascoutah, but Doan scored on a putback to start a 17-5 run as the Terriers took an 11-point lead into intermission.
Simelton scored to open the second half and Kyles scored twice to jump out to a 17-point lead. Mascoutah then went on a 9-0 run to cut the lead to eight with 4:25 remaining in the quarter.
With 2:58 remaining Mascoutah still trailed by eight, but that was as close as the Lady Indians would get. Simelton scored on a pair of free throws and Doan added another jumper for the lane to extend the lead to 12. Brooks split a pair for the charity stripe to cut the lead back to 11 heading into the final quarter.
Barton stole the ball and scored to open the fourth and that started a 12-2 as the Terriers held a 21-point lead with 3:15 remaining.
In the first game, Marion led by one with 3:27 left in the third quarter, but pulled away late to beat Massac County, 43-34, to even its record at 1-1. Abby Bayer led the Lady Wildcats with 10 points while Cassandra Woods added nine with Nia Marshall and Orea Cosby finishing with eight each.
In the second game, Carterville trailed by one point with 11 seconds left in the first quarter before exploding in the second quarter to take a 17-point lead into the half. Megan Barrett led the Lady Lions with 18 points.