Nancy Stiff said the performance was huge.
Arcola's Taylor Edwards was definitively the best player on the floor for at least six minutes, scoring the Riders' first 11 points in the fourth quarter.
Edwards brought Arcola's one-point lead, at the beginning of the quarter, to an eight-point lead before a different teammate scored in the Riders' 47-35 sectional victory against North Clay.
“I consider her the Tyra Buss (of Mount Carmel) of 1A basketball,” North Clay head coach Curtis Thompson said. “She's just an unstoppable player.”
Samantha Reece made a layup with 1:32 to play that gave Arcola its biggest lead of the game, 45-35, before Bekah Montgomery scored the last two points of the game.
Stiff, Arcola's head coach, said Edwards lifted an struggling offense in the fourth quarter, but the junior got started after halftime.
Edwards and Montgomery combined for Arcola's first 10 points of the second half to lead the Riders to a 32-31 advantage going into the final quarter.
Montgomery's eight points was second on the team after Edwards' game-high 26.
North Clay lost its halftime lead three possessions into the third quarter, after controlling much of the first half and taking a 21-19 lead into the locker room.
Kortney Stanfield scored eight of her 12 points in the first quarter to give the Cardinals an early seven-point lead. The deficit forced Arcola into a change.
The Riders changed from their normally effective 1-3-1 zone into a man-to-man set for the rest of the game.
“We weren't rebounding in (the zone) and we weren't covering (Stanfield) well,” Stiff said. “We got out of our zone and went to the man-to-man, which proved to be the better defense of the night.”
Arcola's quickness alone caused North Clay immediate trouble on the offensive end, while Stanfield was limited to four points in the last three quarters of the game.
Thompson said the Riders' defense forced the Cardinals into turnovers. He said his players didn't see many open shots the rest of the night.
North Clay finished the third quarter on a 4-0 run to bring Arcola's lead within one point and give itself a chance, but Edwards quickly stole the Cardinals' hope.
Teehanna Wyatt went 1-for-4 from the free throw line for the Cardinals, during Edwards' breakout start to the fourth quarter.
Arcola slowed the game down with a nine-point lead, created by Edwards, which forced the Cardinals into a situation they didn't want to be in.
“We knew whenever they pulled up that they started to slow the ball down, spread us out and they were going to run the clock on us,” Thompson said. “We had to go man on them and we knew that would be tough.”
Arcola outscored North Clay 28-14 in the second half to end the Cardinals' season and advance to today's Cumberland Sectional championship against Central A&M.
Alex McNamee can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or email@example.com.
Arcola 9 10 13 15 47
North Clay 16 5 10 4 35
Arcola: Karmazinas 2, Reece 4, Fishel 6, Montgomery 8, Conlin 1, Edwards 26
North Clay: Ruholl 2, Walker 10, K. Stanfield 12, Wyatt 11
Nancy Stiff said the performance was huge.
Czachorski: Lunt the right man at QB
There haven't been many times I've put pen to paper — or I guess more fittingly finger to keyboard — and written about the Illinois Fighting Illini.
Part of it is due to their football team's struggles, as it's hard to have an opinion on them outside of "man, they went 1-7 in the Big 10 last year" or "I remember that one time they went to the Rose Bowl, but that's about it." Part of it is staying in my wheelhouse, which is MAC football and my alma mater Central Michigan Chippewas, a topic that doesn't concern many, if any, around here.
Neoga prepares for upcoming volleyball season
Another area team finds themselves with a new coach holding the clipboard this season.
Susan Hutchinson is the new volleyball coach for the Neoga Indians, but she isn't new to the game of volleyball. Hutchinson coached at Mattoon for seven years when they were still in the Big 12 Conference. She said her new players had to get used to her coaching style very quickly.
Bulldogs fifth at ISU
St. Anthony took to the links for the second-straight day and had a strong showing at the Raider/Redbird Classic.
The Bulldogs finished fifth among a 20-team field, shooting a 318. East Peoria shot a 312 to win it, Normal U-High and Lincoln each shot 315s with Normal winning the tie-breaker, and Bloomington took fourth with a 317.
St. Anthony will lead with speed
For the last five years, Eric Morales has been the assistant coach of the St. Anthony Bulldogs soccer team. But this season he will have his chance at the helm and try to help lead the Bulldogs to their first regional title since 2010.
St. Anthony is missing six seniors from last years team, including its leading goal scorer and starting goalie.
Flaming Hearts win St. Anthony Invitational
The Flaming Hearts of Effingham were the overall winners and also had the medalist. Effingham shot a team score of 312 to beat the host Bulldogs by nine shots. Hearts senior Jackson Wendling finished with a 72 to take medalist honors.
Teutopolis takes opener against St. Thomas More
Teutopolis took the course with a new coach and four players, but as coach Becky Probst said, it takes four to score.
And those four Lady Shoes took their first match of the year, topping Champaign St. Thomas More 216-227 in both teams' openers at Cardinal Golf Course in Effingham.
Time to tee off, golf season starts fall sports campaign today
The fall sports campaign kicks off in earnest Monday afternoon, with the first area varsity contests being held in Windsor and Effingham this afternoon.
The St. Anthony Invitational boys golf tournament will be held at Fox Prairie Golf Course at 1 p.m. in Windsor, while the Teutopolis Lady Shoes host St. Thomas More at Cardinal Golf Course at 4 p.m.
Flaming Hearts' flexibility a plus; Effingham prepping for upcoming soccer season
Three days into the practice season, Effingham soccer coach Aaron Witges sees a lot of flexibility.
It was something his squad had last year, with 10 seniors but young players forcing their way into the lineup as well.
Coming off a 10-8-3 season, some of those young players will find themselves in new positions for the Flaming Hearts this season.
Flaming Hearts set with new coach
The Effingham Flaming Hearts volleyball team will have a new but familiar face leading them on the sideline this season.
As a former player for the Hearts, coach Mindy McCollum-Boswell will look to lead her team to their first regional title since 2008.
Czachorski: Bears backups worrisome
This might sound shockingly similar to a number of columns I've written in the past, but it bears repeating (excusing a terrible pun).
The quarterback situation is worrisome.
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