In Thursday's regular-season finale, the Alleman and Galesburg girls basketball teams gave each other a final test before potentially meeting again in Class 3A regional play.|
Galesburg pulled away in the final moments at the Don Morris Gym to pull out a 62-58 Western Big 6 Conference victory.
The Silver Streaks (18-12, 6-4 WB6) snapped a five game losing streak behind explosive senior guard Jessica Lieber, who scored a game-high 32 points, taking 21 shots.
Alleman (15-14, 2-8 WB6) was unable to avenge a 73-65 loss to Galesburg back on Jan. 3. Alleman's offense sputtered, committing 17 turnovers to Galesburg's 10.
"We turned the ball over a lot," Alleman coach Jay Hatch said. "I would say we didn't rebound very well, and I didn't think we understood what we needed to do defensively at times."
Tied at 58 with 1:10 remaining, Anne Bohnert launched a open 3-pointer, but was just off the mark.
A tied-up rebound under the basket gave possession back to Galesburg. A foul sent Lieber to the free-throw line where she hit both tosses to give the Streak a 60-58 advantage.
Coming out of a timeout with :30.7 left, Bohnert was again unafraid to take the big shot for the win but only drew iron and Bohnert was forced to foul.
Without one of Galesburg's top players in Sharron Diggins, Lieber carried the Silver Streaks, scoring 18 of her 32 points in the second half, shooting 5-of-16 from 3-point range in the game.
In two games against the Pioneers this season, Galesburg's Lieber has scored 58 points.
Alleman's Erin Morrisey scored a team-high 14 points, and Bohnert added 12 points.
With the start of the 3A Dunlap Regional on Tuesday, the two teams are seeded for a rematch in Thursday's regional championship. Neither team is taking their opening-round game lightly as they look to push their teams to play better.
"I think we're where we have to be," said Hatch of if his team's postseason readiness. "I don't spend a lot of time worrying about that. We just have to get better everyday and hopefully we can do that before again Tuesday night."
No. 2 seed Alleman opens postseason play Tuesday against host Dunlap, theNo. 3 seed, at 8 p.m.
No.1 seed Galesburg will play at 6 p.m. Tuesday, and awaits the winner of Monday's 7:30 p.m. matchup between Geneseo and Chillicothe Illinois Valley Central.
"We are very similar in ability," Galesburg coach Evan Massey said. "We have struggled down the stretch, so we just need to focus on Tuesday. Then we will go from there."
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