PECATONICA – Once Erin Henze showed up to the party, she and her Eastland girls basketball teammates turned out the lights on Stockton.
Henze scored all 17 of her points in the second half to lead the Cougars to a 61-49 come-from-behind victory against the Blackhawks on Monday night in a Class 1A Pecatonica Sectional semifinal.
Eastland was down 21-10 after one quarter, but narrowed the deficit to 28-24 by halftime, despite Henze going to 0-for-8 from the field, including 0-for-4 on threes, in the first 16 minutes. Picking up the slack were Karlie Krogman who was perfect from the floor (4-for-4) and the line (also 4-for-4) in the first half for 12 points, and reserve guard Talena Rogers, who made all three of her shots for six points.
“I didn’t need to be the only one that scored,” Krogman said. “Just because Erin’s shots weren’t going down doesn’t mean that I needed to be the only one scoring. We knew we’d get going.”
The Cougars (30-3) chipped away in the third quarter, and took their first lead at 37-36 on a basket from Dani Rush with 1:05 left in the third quarter.
Stockton’s Tiana Timpe dropped in a layup with 25 seconds left in the third quarter to re-take the lead, but a short jumper from Meredith Janssen put the Cougars back up 39-38 entering the final quarter.
Henze began the quarter with a layup, then she hit a three to give team a 45-39 advantage with 6:16 to go.
Stockton (25-7) was able to hang around a bit, as a bucket from Timpe got her team to within six (53-47) with 1:25 to go, but Eastland hit eight straight free throws in the final 1:20 to pull away.
Henze struggled all night from the field, as she hit just 3 of 17 shots, but converted 9 of 10 from the line for a game-high 17 points.
“I knew that I couldn’t force shots when they weren’t there, but [Eastland coach Nicole] Brinker has always told me to keep shooting because that allows our team to get offensive rebounds and putbacks,” Henze said. “Even when I kind of want to shut down and stop shooting, she has always encouraged me all 4 years to keep shooting threes, twos, whatever, so the offense opens up a little.”
Krogman finished with 16 points and eight rebounds, and Janssen chipped in 12 points and seven boards. Lydia Coatney battled foul trouble most of the game and was held to six points, though she did grab seven rebounds. Rogers added six points.
Eastland had defeated Stockton 48-39 at the Forreston Tournament back on Nov. 26, and received another stern test from the Blackhawks. It was just what the doctor ordered, according to two key Cougars.
“For the next game coming up, it’s going to be another tough game,” Krogman said. “We needed a tough game to get us prepared.”
“The people that came off the bench, the starters, everybody filled their role perfectly,” Henze added. “We worked very hard tonight. Everybody that came in gave it their all.”
Timpe finished with 14 points, six rebounds and three steals to lead Stockton, while Lizzie Eisfeller finished with 12. Katie Wright and Kiersten Winters had nine points apiece, and Kenze Haas added five.
That starting five accounted for all of the Blackhawks’ points. Stockton had a 14-game winning streak snapped, as its last loss had been to Galena in early January.
“About the middle of the third quarter we were pretty tired,” Stockton coach Tim Timpe said, “and we’re not an extremely deep team. We got tired. We played really hard the first two quarters, but then got tired and missed some defensive assignments. Henze hit a couple of shots.
“We missed some easy shots, had some silly turnovers – it was a combination of a little bit of everything. Eastland’s a great team, and you can’t do stuff like that against them. Once they get the lead, it’s awfully tough to come back on them.”
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