For the Daily News
North Clay pulled out all of the stops to try to limit Arcola’s offense; instead, the teams traded baskets for much of the second half when the Cardinals needed the mount a comeback.
Arcola held onto its lead, winning the Dieterich Holiday Tournament title 50-37.
The Cardinals’ offense finished the third quarter with eight quick points, trailing 33-17, but Arcola answered every North Clay wave.
North Clay came out in a full-court press to start the fourth quarter and results came quickly. Kortney Stanfield turned Arcola turnovers into the first five points of the quarter. Arcola head coach Nancy Stiff called a timeout, ahead 42-30 with 6:17 to go.
“We needed to pull the throttle back and get grouped together again,” Stiff said. “Get some stability at both ends of the floor.”
The Cardinals stuck with the full-court pressure, but stalled offensively. Both teams combined for only four points in the next three minutes — with Arcola leading 44-32.
Arcola was fine with minimal scoring, holding onto a lead, especially if it meant limiting Stanfield, who was named a Dieterich Holiday All-Tournament player.
“We wanted to keep track of her and double up on her every time she got the ball,” Stiff said. “She’s a good player and we have a lot of respect for her.”
Respect from Arcola meant constant double- and triple-teams when Stanfield, who scored a team-high 20 points, touched the ball.
“We tried setting screens for her or anything we could do to keep her moving,” North Clay head coach Curtis Thompson said.
As Stanfield went toe-to-toe with the tournament’s most valuable player, Arcola’s Taylor Edwards, North Clay chained together empty possessions.
The Cardinals were called for a five-second violation on an inbounds play, a player dribbled the ball off of her foot for a turnover and swarming defenders often came up with steals against Stanfield.
No matter what North Clay’s defense did, it was Arcola’s steady zone that did the trick for the Dieterich Holiday Tournament champions.
“Their defense is what allowed them to score the points,” Thompson said. “They kept it spread out and we didn’t penetrate enough. We didn’t have any ball fakes and they were good at reading the pass and jumping in the lanes.”
The Lady Riders’ defense held North Clay to 11 points in the first half, seven which Stanfield scored.
Edwards scored 25 points in the title-clinching game, while teammate Samantha Reece scored 13. Reece was also named to the all-tournament team.
Taylor Edwards was named the Dieterich Holiday Tournament most valuable player after a 25-point performance in Saturday’s championship game for Arcola.
“She had a tremendous week,” Arcola head coach Nancy Stiff said of Edwards. “She can do just about anything. She’s a great player.”
Arcola’s Samantha Reece also made the team, while North Clay’s Kortney Stanfield was the Cardinals’ only selection. Stanfield scored 20 points in the title game loss.
“She just seems to know the game really well,” North Clay head coach Curtis Thompson said of Stanfield. “She does a lot of things right. She’s our main scorer to look to.”
Newton and Dieterich each had two selections. Ariel Richards and Andrea Cartwright made the team, from Newton, while Mallorie Vahling and Courtney Flach were each selected from Dieterich.
Brownstown/St. Elmo’s Bethany Oberlink, Casey-Westfield’s Connor Cutwright and Cowden-Herrick/Beecher City’s Kirby Herrmann rounded out the team.
Alex McNamee can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or email@example.com.
Arcola 14 10 16 8 50
Dieterich 6 5 14 12 37
Arcola: Karmzain 2, Reece 13, Fishel 6, Montgomery 2, Conlin 2, Edwards 25
Dieterich: M Stanfield 1, Bible 7, Smith 5, Walker 2, Stanfield 20, Wyatt 2