EUREKA – Considering the high level of Eureka has exhibited during their lengthy win streak, they were due for a clunker.
That came Jan. 28, but the Hornets still came on top 45-33 over Heart of Illinois Conference rival Ridgeview. Eureka has won 16 consecutive games.
This was in stark contrast to the McLean County tournament meeting four days prior where the Hornets (26-2, 12-0) pulled away after eight minutes.
“We played so well. We played close to perfection,” commented Eureka coach Jerry Prina. “You cannot those every night. Even the pros do not.”
A field goal from Lauren Ausmus got the hosts out to a 9-0 advantage.
Ridgeview (21-7, 9-3), who started zero of 10 from the floor, got the board with a bucket from Kelly Jones. The Mustangs got within 9-7 late in the quarter. They trailed 16-14 in the second before the hosts scored the last six points to go intermission up 22-16.
Eureka hoisted up 35 shots in the half, but only made nine.
“The thing people may not realize is that whether or not we’re making shots, we’re getting the right shots,” Prina explained. “Sometimes, they do not go in. We’re trying to get the ball to the other players. The one thing these girls do is they get the ball to the open player.”
While the offense might have been misfiring, the defense was not, as they triggered 18 Ridgeview turnovers.
In addition, they also forced the Mustangs into taking shots quicker than they would have wanted.
“I think we had the advantage with our speed,” said Prina. “Our speed is a killer to some teams. We wore down River Rosales. I thought if we keep turning it up, turning it up, she would wear down.”
Rosales, the Mustangs’ junior point guard leading scorer, was limited to one basket and six points. Ridgeview, who received 15 points from Mya Tinsley, finished 12 of 47 from the field for 26 percent.
Eureka, who led by as many as 14, was led by junior Darby Leman with 20 points. Ausmus also finished in double figures with 10. Overall, they were 17 of 57 from the floor for 30 percent.