COAL CITY – After allowing Peotone to take its first lead in the fourth quarter, Coal City rallied to win, 47-39, and stay undefeated Monday in Interstate Eight Conference varsity girls basketball.
Earlier this season, Coal City defeated Peotone, 54-40, to win the championship at Beecher’s Ladycat Fall Classic. It also was tested in that game, leading just 29-27 at halftime, but had a greater challenge Monday, when it fell behind by four points with under four minutes to play.
“I think we got a pretty experienced group,” Coal City coach Brad Schmitt said. “We’ve seen each other time and again. ... It’s a grind every time we go against each other.”
Coal City’s first nine possessions of the fourth quarter produced four turnovers and five missed shots with no offensive rebounds. Peotone got its deficit down to one on a Cora Graffeo conventional 3-point play and took a 32-31 lead on a Carley Maupin jumper with 5:26 to play.
The Blue Devils also got a driving basket from Skyler Hall before Brittany Jezik produced the first point of the quarter for Coal City on a free throw with 4:05 to play. Following two Peotone free throws, the Lady Coalers got a 3-pointer from Carly Pavlis, who added a jumper after a Peotone turnover to restore Coal City’s lead at 37-36 with 2:59 to go.
From there, Emily Halliday, Jezik and Britta Spelde combined to go 8-for-8 from the free-throw line as the Lady Coalers maintained and added to their lead.
“I just thought it was good that we hit a big shot, but somebody was gonna make it sooner or later,” Pavlis said. “We just gave up a couple buckets right in a row, gave them a big run, and then we couldn’t hit a shot on our end.”
Peotone needed a late Dani Benninghoff 3-pointer to close the first quarter down 10-7. Two Brittany Jezik threes highlighted a 10-0 run on which the Lady Coalers began the second. They had committed five turnovers to Peotone’s 12 at halftime, when they led 24-14.
“We were at our own pace in the beginning,” Jezik said. “We weren’t trying to rush anything. We were just doing what we do best, and then when it started coming down to the third and fourth quarter, we started rushing everything, and that’s kind of when everything started to fall apart.”