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CHASING THE ORANGE – The Eureka duo of Meredith Bardwell (front) and Tessa Leman (back) keep tabs on the ball during Saturday’s third place game. They fell 45-32 to Teutopolis at Redbird Arena on the Illinois State University campus in Normal (For the Journal/Lewis Marien).

NORMAL - Eureka misfired on their last 11 field goal attempts in a 45-32 defeat to Teutopolis in the third place game of the state finals Saturday at Redbird Arena on the Illinois State University campus.

Natalie Bardwell's bucket with 41 seconds left in the third quarter was final hoop the Hornets (28-5) would score. They entered the fourth period down only two at 34-32.

"They took the shots they gave us," pointed out Eureka coach Jerry Prina. "They just did not go down. We had a couple of putback attempts and they were contested. It was not a matter of us not trying or not executing. It was just a matter of our shot not being there at the end."

Tessa Leman led Eureka with 10 points before she fouled out with three minutes and five seconds left.

Teutopolis (29-7) employed a box-and-one defense on Leman late in the first half, which limited the Hornets to just nine points the rest of the way. Leman was guarded by Morgan Mette, who at 5-foot-8, was an inch shorter than the Eureka standout.

"She's our best defender," stated Wooden Shoes' coach Laurie Thompson. "She draws the job of the opponents' best player every night. Number five (Leman) is a very good player. Morgan did a heck of a job on her. Her teammates helped her as well."

Jolene Bueker paced Teutopolis with 15 points, while reserve Claire Bushar, who came into the game with an average of just three points per contest, added a season-high 13.

Notes: Thompson, the former Laurie Holman, and her teammates were honored at halftime, as part of the 30th anniversary of Teutopolis' title squad that finished with a perfect 32-0 record. She scored 21 points in the quarterfinals against Eureka. Also recognized were champions from the 1998 Nokomis/Ramsey co-op and the 2008 Flanagan-Cornell-Woodland co-op, which was the first season of the present four-class system. Leman (repeat) was voted unanimously first team all-state by the media. She was joined by Baylee Clampitt of Illini West, Harrisburg’s Matty Hawkins, Sammi Matoush of Hillsboro and Princeton’s Anna Murray. Leman (1,791 career points) was also a repeat first team all-state selection by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA), while Bardwell (1,308 points) appeared on the second team. Junior Courtney Heffren was chosen special mention.

See article on March 1 Woodford County Journal newsstands


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