Effingham Daily News
Neoga had two chances to tie or take the lead with 30 seconds left, but nothing fell in the Indians' 45-42 loss against Centralia on Friday.
The Indians benefited from Centralia's Erika Starr missing a three-on-one layup that could have put the Annies ahead by four points with about 30 seconds left.
Madison Butler ended up with a 3-point shot on the ensuing possession, but missed it. Jillian Deters ran down a long rebound to give the Indians another chance.
Neoga head coach Kim Romack called a timeout to draw something up for her team's upcoming possession, but said the Indians were prepared to take any shot they got.
“It didn't have to come from anybody in particular,” Romack said. “We were going to take whatever the defense gave us and try to get something.”
The Annies' defense gave Butler another 3-point shot from the corner, near the Indians bench, but she missed short.
Holly Mays grabbed the rebound and sprinted down the floor in a footrace with Neoga's Kelli Erickson, who fouled her with 2.6 seconds left.
Mays made only 1-of-2 from the free throw line, but Abbey Holtkamp grabbed the offensive rebound to seal the victory.
Both players made the Effingham Round Robin all-tournament team for the second-place Annies. Holtkamp scored a team-high 13 points in the win. Mays added 12.
“We didn't convert when we needed to on anything tonight,” Romack said. “We got some things we were looking for, but it came down all night to knocking down shots.”
The Indians took a 40-37 lead on four free throws by Jaycie Roy and EC Thies with 3:22 left in the fourth quarter, but didn't hold on to it for long.
Centralia went on a 7-0 run to take a 44-40 lead with 2:06 left, on its way to a three-point win.
Romack said the loss ended the Indians' week on a sour note. The loss dropped Neoga to third place in the tournament.
“I felt like, as a team, we didn't come out an play our best basketball tonight,” Romack said.
The Indians' week included wins against St. Anthony and Dieterich, while they played Effingham tight for about a half on Monday.
Deters and Butler earned all-tournament honors for the Indians. Deters tied for a team-high 13 points with Thies. Butler added 8.
Neoga (15-8) returns to action at 6:15 p.m. Monday at Cowden-Herrick/Beecher City.
Alex McNamee can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or email@example.com.
Neoga 7 15 8 12 42
Centralia 12 11 10 12 45
Neoga: Butler 8, Ott 2, Thies 13, Deters 13, Roy 6
Centralia: Smith 4, Schwartz 4, Cunningham 2, Hulton 2, Engelkins 8, Mays 12, Holtkamp 13
Aside from the two players apiece Neoga and Centralia placed on the all-tournament team, seven other players made the squad.
Effingham, the tournament champion, placed three players on the team — Jantzen Michael, Caitlin Kaufman and Josie Zerrusen.
St. Anthony's Kate Richards and Megan Nuxoll were named to the team, while Dieterich's Mallorie Vahling and Courtney Flach rounded out the squad.