Seth Whitehead - For the Daily Union
SHELBYVILLE, IL. —
The Arcola Purple Riders competed with the #1 seeded Central A&M Raiders in the A&M Regional title game on Thursday, but the Riders just couldn't keep up, falling further behind every lap and losing by over 20, 55-32.
A&M didn't run Arcola off the floor right away, they just kept deepening the cut. For the second game in a row Sarah Bailey was back with a vengeance as she has gotten healthy from an injury. She scored 17 points im the regional semi and she finished with a game-high 20 points in the championship, scoring seven times from the floor and making all six of her free throws.
A&M took an early lead as Bailey scored twice and then got the line to make her first two free throws. Genny Rose Stringer and Rachel Townsend teed up solo 3-pointers. Taylor Jordan also got to the free throw line and made 1-of-2.
Arcola got a two and then completed a 3-point play from Taylor Edwards. Cara Edwards got on the board with a two and Reece scored once to trail 13-9.
The 2nd frame was more of the same. Bailey scored two more times and fellow senior leader, point guard Allie Heaton scored twice. Freshman speedster Ryan Dooley scored and got to the line for her first two foul shots. It was 3-point shootist Taylor Jordan's turn to connect from distance.
Arcola broke into double-digits in the period with three scores from Cara Edwards. Taylor Edwards and Fishel had solo twos, leaving Arcola down by nine points at the break, 28-19.
Arcola had fared better than most A&M opponents at that point, but they couldn't make up any of the difference.
The 3rd quarter was a repeat of the first two quarters with A&M extended their lead again by solo digits. Bailey scored three times and Townsend had a pair of deuces. Jordan and Dooley both got to the line and sank two shots each.
The Riders got two scores from Cara Edwards, a two from Reece, and two free throws from Taylor Edwards, slipping behind by 15, 42-27.
Arcola was in a hole and A&M doesn't let opponents out of a hole. A final 13-5 Raider run was another nail in the Riders coffin. Stringer hit her second trey and Heaton had a bucket, but A&M got the rest of their 4th quarter points from the line, making 8-of-10. Bailey made 4-of-4, Dooley 2-of-2, Brooke Stinson 1-of-2, and Brianne Senger 1-of-2.
After making all 11 of their free throws (100%) in the regional semi, A&M made 17-of-20 in the championship (85%).
As dirt filled their grave, Arcola scored just five points down the stretch. Taylor Edwards fouled out, while Cara Edwards had a two, Johns had a two, and Reece split a pair at the line. Arcola only shot 4-of-6 at the line, a 13-point disadvantage in a 23-point loss.
Taylor Jordan won the 3-point showdown, making 11-of-15, Bailey advanced making 9-of-15, and Amy Orris and Paige Harlin both of Okaw Valley advanced with 9-of-15.
Central A&M will play Hume Shiloh in the first game of the Altamont Sectional on Monday. Hume Shiloh knocked off CHBC two years ago. If A&M beats Shiloh they could face CHBC in the sectional final next Thursday.
A&M Regional Championship
A & M 13-15-14-13--55
A&M stats: Bailey 20 (7 FGs, 6/6 FTs), Dooley 8 (FG, 6/6 FTs), Townsend 7 (2-2s, 1-3 pt FGs), Jordan 6 (1-3 pt FG, 3/4 FTs), Heaton 6 (3 FGs), Stringer 6 (2-3 pt FGs), Stinson 1 (1/2 FTs), Senger 1 (1/2 FTs). Team FGs 17. 3-Pointers: Strinegr 2, Townsend, Jordan). Team FTs 17-of-20.
Arc stats: C. Edwards 14 (7 FGs), T. Edwards 9 (3 FGs, 3/3 FTs), Reece 5 (2 FGs, 1/2 FTs), Fishel 2 (FG, 0/1 FTs), Johns 2 (FG). Team FGs 14 (0-3s). Team FTs 4-of-6.