Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2012, 7:36 pm

Big night for Big 6 girls hoops

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By Dan Tomlin, dtomlin@qconline.com

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Todd Welvaert
Rock Island senior basketball player Shavonne Brewer sits five points shy of 1,000 career points entering tonight's game at Moline.
After tonight, the Western Big 6 Conference girls' basketball race readies for its long winter's nap.

Holiday tournaments and non-conference clashes take over until after the new year.

That's why nobody wants to get caught sleeping this evening in what promises to be a pivotal round of pre-Christmas contests.

The league's top four teams square off, with plenty to be decided -- who's on top, who remains a contender, and who's playing for pride come January.

Rock Island (11-0, 3-0 WB6) at Moline (4-6, 2-1 WB6): After starting the season 1-5, the Maroons have started to pick up the pace lately and will be ready when the Rocks come to Wharton Field House. ... The Rocks will be playing their third game this week and their fifth game in five days tonight. They're 4-0 in the Knoxville-Abingdon Tournament that wraps up this weekend with the championship game Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ... Rocky point guard Shavonne Brewer needs just five points to reach 1,000 for her career, and could get there early tonight. ... Moline is hoping to knock the Rocks off the top of the mountain and create a log jam heading into the near month-long break between Big 6 games. ... Morgan Gerard is lighting it up for the Maroons, averaging 10.7 points a game, and 13.0 points per game in her last four games.

"Moline is going to be physical and when we play teams that are more physical than us this year we've struggled," Rocky coach Thad Hoover said. "It's going to be an extremely tough game for us. If we can't get up to play Moline though, there's something wrong."

Galesburg (7-3, 2-1 WB6) at United Township (6-5, 2-1 WB6): The Silver Streaks are streaking in the wrong direction, having lost two straight heading into tonight's game. Every Thursday has been an interesting one for the Streaks who barely slipped past Quincy two weeks ago and had a shoot 'em out with Rocky last Thursday. … UTHS shared a similar fate against the Rocks, losing down the stretch, and the Panthers are hoping to continue their Big 6 success after beating Alleman last week. The Panthers lost to Galesburg at this same time last year before ripping off six straight wins to share the Big 6 crown with Rocky. Always a defensive-minded bunch, the Panthers will have to slow down Big 6 scoring leader Jessica Lieber. … It's no secret to anyone that you have to be ready to run for 32 minutes when playing GHS, and seniors Jen and Jamie VanWatermeulen will be looked upon to set the tone for UT. Katie Daggett has really started to pour it on in the paint, while Tayler Dobrinske is becoming more and more of an outside threat for a blossoming UT team that could solidify its chances of repeating as champs with a win tonight.

"We'll have to play our best defensive game of the season to have a chance," UT coach Justin Shiltz said. "They're the class of the league along with Rock Island. It will be an interesting game for us. It's a lot on our plate and I hope we play well or it could be long night."

Alleman (6-5, 0-3 WB6) at Quincy (4-5, 0-3 WB6): Both of these teams have a lot to play for. No one wants to be in the basement of the conference. Quincy wants to end its consecutive Big 6 losing streak which now stands at 29. The Pioneers want to prove their work in practice is going to start paying dividends. Alleman has been in most of its losses of late, but haven't come out on the winning side. A Big 6 win heading into Christmas would be a great present for either team.



Big 6 3-point threats

Here are this season's best beyond the arc:
1. Carlee Hoover, Rock Island, 22
2. Jessica Lieber, Galesburg, 20
3. Shavonne Brewer, Rock Island, 19
4. Morgan Gerard, Moline, 18
5. Sharron Diggins, Galesburg, 17
6. Tayler Dobrinske, United Township, 14