Thatcher’s fourth quarter dozen keys Lady Lancer comeback
Monday, December 30, 2013 12:01 AM
By Jim Metcalfe
Lincolnview senior Christine Stemen (left) fires from long range as Lydia Heindel defends for Parkway during action on Saturday afternoon. Stemen connected on three three-point field goals in the Lancer win. (Times Bulletin/Pat Agler)
ROCKFORD —It wasn’t played for the championship, but Lincolnview and Parkway put on a show nonetheless in the girls consolation game at the Chatt Insurance Holiday Tournament at Parkway High School on Saturday afternoon.
In a hotly-contested battle, the Lady Lancers held off the host Lady Panthers by a 48-45 score.
Guiding the Lady Lancers (4-6) were all-tourney picks in senior Christine Stemen with 15 points and junior Julia Thatcher, who added 13 to go along with four steals in the game.
Senior Sierra Fent, also an all-tournament team selection, was high scorer for the Lady Panthers (3-6) with 14 and classmate Cami Hellwarth joined her in double figures with 10.
“We had a better effort overall today than Friday. I am proud that the girls responded,” Lancer coach Dan Williamson said. “Fent was a load for us but, for the most part, we contained her. That was the first goal for our defense. Secondly, we had to contain their guards penetrating to the basket, and we basically did that. It came down to effort.”
Parkway coach Lynn Hughes also was pleased with her team’s effort.
“What we didn’t have yesterday: focus, intensity, heart, we had today,” Hughes acknowledged. “How we played yesterday was inexplicable because we had a great week of practice leading up to it. This was more like it.”
Parkway led 35-30 to open the fourth but the Lancers’ defense, mixing between man and 2-3 zone, began to bother the Panthers, forcing seven turnovers. That helped Lincolnview chip away at the deficit and they tied it at 40 on a three-point field goal by Thatcher from left of the key at 2:51. Another trifecta, this one by Stemen from the right corner, gave them the lead for good.
After Stemen hit 1-of-2 at the line at 1:12, senior Cami Hellwarth buried a left-wing three at 40 seconds and pulled the Panthers to within one at 44-43. Thatcher drained a pair of free throws at 36.3 seconds to go, but Hellwarth put back her own miss 18 seconds later to get within 46-45.
Thatcher was again fouled at 16.4 and calmly drained both freebies for a three-point lead. Hellwarth’s three-point attempt with time running down was off the mark and freshman Katlyn Wendel collected the rebounds for the Lancers as time expired.
Those clutch free throws by Thatcher were part of a 12-point fourth quarter.
“Julia is our go-to player when we need a big basket or a key play. She hit the free throws to keep us ahead and came up big in the fourth,” Williamson added. “What was nice today was we had contributions from everybody in one fashion or another. It may not always go in the scorebook, but without those little things, we don’t win.”
For Hughes, it was so close, yet so far.
“We were right there at the end, but we had too many turnovers in the fourth,” she added. “In one span, we had four straight turnovers and that’s when they got the lead. Overall, though, we played solid. We just let it get away from us. We knew Stemen could shoot and we only really let her get away a couple of times, but she nailed them.”
Parkway made a concerted effort to get the ball inside to Fent and junior Terra Walls from the beginning of the game and had mixed success. Lincolnview’s man and zone defenses also had varying success denying them the ball, but they got hurt on the defensive glass. Parkway grabbed five offensive rebounds in the first period. Both teams struggled from the field — Lincolnview 2-of-10 and Parkway 4-of-14 — and that led to an 8-8 tie after one.
The offenses picked up somewhat in the second. The Panthers held the lead for a while — up to three points twice, the latter with five minutes left in the period — before the blue-and-gold outscored them 6-0 the rest of the span. It was a run capped by a 10-foot baseline jumper from Stemen that created a 20-17 halftime advantage for Lincolnview.
Hughes re-emphasized getting the ball to Fent in the third period and her troops responded. Fent scored 10 of the team’s 18 as the black-and-gold led 35-30 on her layup off an Ashlynn Henderson lob just before the end of the period.
Lincolnview made 43 percent from the field, including going 5-for-10 from three-point range. Parkway, meanwhile, shot 41 percent and went 3-for-9 from long range.
Score by quarters
Lincolnview 8 12 10 18 - 48
Parkway 8 9 18 10 - 45
Lincolnview (48) individual scoring
Bowersock 4, Clay 4, Wendel 6, McClure 0, Thatcher 13, McCleery 6, Stemen 15, Gorman 0
Parkway (45) individual scoring
Hellwarth 10, Gehron 9, Pond 0, Rutledge 0, Heckler 5, Heindel 1, Henderson 0, Walls 6, Fent 14
Three-point goals: Lincolnview- Stemen 3, Thatcher 2; Parkway- Hellwarth, Gehron, Heckler.