EUREKA - After consecutive losses to quality opposition, Eureka has breezed to a pair of one-sided contests.
The latest was Friday, as the Hornets defeated Heart of Illinois Conference rival Flanagan-Cornell 58-25 to improve their league mark to 7-0 and keep possession of the McLean County traveling trophy.
Eureka (12-2) led 17-9 after the opening quarter before they blitzed F-C (6-9, 1-6) in the second, highlighted by a 16-0 spurt which saw Natalie Anderson, Courtney Heffren, Darby Leman and Alison Nohl each record at least one field goal. Heffren's left-handed layin gave the hosts a 41-15 lead going into halftime.
"I think it's an intimidating factor," said Hornets' coach Jerry Prina of the relentless pressure they employ. "Our goal is to get teams out of control and out of sync. We have eight to 10 girls who we can run in there."
All told, Eureka outscored the Falcons 24 to six in the second period. While the Hornets made 11 of 15 shots, the guests converted just two of 11.
"We changed up our defense from the man to the zone," commented Prina of the fullcourt press. "We were able to use (Amy) Pineda and rest Darby. I'm not sure with Amy, Darby and Courtney, there's a faster trio in the conference."
The Hornets stretched the advantage as many as 37 at 56-19 on a bucket from Nohl.
Heffren led three starters into double figures with 16 points. Anderson scored 15 and Leman chipped in with 10.
While Eureka was effective at blowing by F-C defenders off the bounce, it was the passing that caught Prina's eye.
"I feel like we've really worked on our ballhandling," he pointed out. "I thought the key tonight was passing. We had a lot of crisp passes. That opened up the drive. I felt like we fed the post better than we have in the last three games."
Eureka recorded 16 assists off 26 baskets, led by seven from Heffren, while Morgan Greene had four.
Almost all of the F-C offense was provided by guard Jadyn Mitchell, who had 18 of the 25 points. The Eureka defense held the Falcons to 20 percent shooting (eight of 40).
The Hornets are on pace to go over 20 wins for the third straight season. Since the start of the 2016-17 campaign, they have a 67-10 record.
However, they are focused on the present.
"Anytime you're 12-2, you're excited, but you're not done," Prina said. "You're not satisfied. You want to keep working, keep improving, keep building up their confidence. I really like the way we're playing together. We have good chemistry. They enjoy each other."
1 2 3 4
Flanagan-Cornell 9 15 21 25
Eureka 17 41 56 58
F-C (field goals-free throws-points): Kayla Van Weelden 2-0-4, Mitchell 5-6-18, McKenna Roth 1-0-2, Regan Reed 0-0-0, Elise Kane 0-1-1, Heather Battice 0-0-0, Emily Friese 0-0-0, Hannah Jones 0-0-0, Faith Wiechmann 0-0-0, Crystal Ayco 0-0-0, Totals 8-7-25
Eureka (fg-ft-pts.): Lauren Ausmus 2-0-4, Anderson 6-1-15, Leman 5-0-10, Greene 1-2-5, Heffren 8-0-16, Natalie Meiss 1-0-2, Pineda 0-0-0, Nohl 2-0-4, Emma Hoffman 0-0-0, Kassidy Post 0-0-0, Maddie Farney 1-0-2, Allison Schrock 0-0-0, Erica Mangold 0-0-0, Totals 26-3-58
Three-point field goals: F-C 2 (Mitchell 2), E 3 (Anderson 2, Greene), Rebounds: F-C 26 (Battice 5), E 46 (Heffren 9), Assists: F-C 2 (Reed, Roth), E 16 (Heffren 7), Steals: F-C 2 (Reed, Roth), E 12 (Leman 4), Blocks: F-C 2 (Reed 2), E 4 (Heffren 2), Fouls: F-C 7, E 10, Turnovers: F-C 14, E 7
Notes: By virtue of the 35-point lead after the third quarter, a running clock occurred in the fourth. The Hornets are 32-1 all-time in HOIC games. Former standouts Tessa Leman and Natalie Bardwell were in attendance and sat on the end of the Eureka bench. The older Leman is attending West Point with plans to walk-on the softball team in the spring, while Bardwell has played in three games in her first season at Olivet Nazarene (8-8) and has scored 13 points.