NORMAL — The Annawan girls basketball team is still farther along this year than it was last year.|
The Bravettes lost a heartbreaker to top-seeded St. Thomas More 62-58 in overtime and will have to settle for playing the 9 a.m. third-place game today at the State Farm Holiday Classic.
The Bravettes got down by as many as 14 before going on a 13-2 run to start the second half to get back in the game.
Celina VanHyfte continued to show why she's an all-stater. She scored 24 points and pulled down 15 rebounds, but she may have met an equal adversary on the opposite side.
The Sabers showed off freshman Tori McCoy, who at 6-foot-4, was a ton. She scored 17 points, pulled down 14 rebounds and had three blocks. The biggest of those blocks came as time ticked away in regulation and Megan Foes attempted a game-winning jumper.
In overtime, VanHyfte fouled out and the Bravettes failed to make a basket, settling for a couple of free throws. In fact, it was the charity stripe that kept Annawan in the game despite shooting just 29 percent from the floor. The Bravettes were a hefty 26-of-32 from the line, including 16-for-20 from VanHyfte.
"That was one of the best efforts I've seen from Celina," Annawan coach Jason Burkiewicz said of his junior forward's 15-point second half. "Against a team like them, yes we're going to need her to play like that."
Annawan, the smallest school in the 16-team field, will be playing Rochester for the third-place trophy, which could be an improvement upon their fourth-place finish two years ago. Last year, they finished fifth.
"I couldn't be prouder of the girls, and I told them how great it was to see them come back twice," Burkiewicz said. "In the fourth quarter to come back from down 11 was tremendous. We need to put this away as experience."