The Lincolnwood girls basketball team would be wise to remember the first three and a half quarters of their season finale against Beardstown on Saturday, March 13. As for the last few minutes, not so much.
With 6:38 left in the game, Cassie Krager knocked down a pair of free throws to bring the Lancers within five points of the visiting Tigers, but foul trouble would doom the Lancers down the stretch as they fell to Beardstown 48-30 to end the season.
The Tigers’ run came on the heels of two really good quarters for the Lancers, who fell behind 17-10 in the first quarter despite eight points from senior Maggie McClelland.
Lincolnwood matched Beardstown point-for-point in the second quarter, with both teams scoring seven. Defense was the key for the Lancers, who clamped down on Beardstown’s Bertille Kayembe after Kayembe scored 12 points in the first quarter; she’d only score eight more in the next three.
After a free throw by the Tigers to start the second half, Cassie Krager and McClelland both hit baskets to open the third as the Lancers drew within four points. It would be give and take after that, with the two teams trading baskets as Beardstown held a 32-24 lead going into the fourth.
To open the fourth, Krager would hit a pair of free throws, followed by two more from the charity stripe after Beardstown hit a free shot of their own. The score was 33-28, but that would be as close as Lincolnwood got, with McClelland and Krager fouling out before the midway point of the half and Beardstown holding the Lancers with out a field goal until Avery Pope’s bucket with three minutes to play.
By that point, the Tiger lead was 11 and Lincolnwood’s hopes of a comeback were waning as the visitors finished off the win.
Kayembe finished with 20, but was the only player in double figures for Beardstown.
Lincolnwood was led by McClelland and Krager, who finished with 10 and seven, while Katelyn Payne added four. Those three, along with Brittany Slightom, make up the senior class for the Lancers and their presence will be missed in the 2021-22 season.
Two of the players who will be called upon to step up are Haelee Damm and Avery Pope, who had five and four points in their final game of the season.
While the finale just missed being special, the season still had its high points, including the program’s first win since 1985.
Vs. Illini Central
In their second to last game of the season, Lincolnwood faced Illini Central in Raymond on Thursday, March 11. While the Cougars only had seven players on their varsity roster, they made up for quantity with quality as they put together a 66-21 win over the Lancers.
Khloe Damm and Reese Markley both had big games for Illini Central, with Damm scoring 28 and Markley following with 20.
Damm had 13 points in the first quarter as the Cougars took a 20-4 lead after eight minutes. Cassie Krager had the Lancers’ only field goal, while Mary Anderson added in two free throws.
Lincolnwood had a more productive quarter in the second, picking up 11 points, with Krager hitting for five and Haelee Damm knocking down a three. The Cougars answered back though, getting 25 in the quarter, with Damm scoring eight and Markley adding six.
Markley paced Illini Central in the third quarter, hitting two more threes to give her team a 64-20 lead after three quarters. With a running clock, only three points were scored in the fourth quarter, two by Illini Central and one by the Lancers.
Cassie Krager would lead the Lancers with nine points, followed by Avery Pope with four, Mary Anderson and Haelee Damm with three each and Maggie McClelland with two.
March 11 at Raymond
Illini Central 20 25 19 2 66
Lincolnwood 4 11 5 1 21
Illini Central (66) - Khloe Damm 28, Reese Markley 20, Hughes 10, Madison Kacevicius 4, Shaffer 4. Totals: 27 5-12 66.
Lincolnwood (21) - Cassie Krager 9, Avery Pope 4, Mary Anderson 3, Haelee Damm 3, Maggie McClelland 2. Totals: 6 6-12 21.
Three-point field goals: Illinois Central 7 (Markley 4, Hughes 2, Damm 1); Lincolnwood 3 (Pope 1, Krager 1, Damm 1).
March 13 at Raymond
Beardstown 17 7 8 16 48
Lincolnwood 10 7 7 6 30
Beardstown (48) - Bertille Kayembe 20, Chaley Grant 9, McKenna Maltby 9, Ferin Carlock 4, Chrinovie Kondua 3, Jennifer Masiki 2, Xitlali Montoya 1. Totals: 17 13-31 48.
Lincolnwood (30) - Maggie McClelland 10, Cassie Krager 7, Haelee Damm 5, Avery Pope 4, Katelyn Payne 4. Totals: 9 11-22 30.
Three-point field goals: Beardstown 1 (Maltby 1); Lincolnwood 1 (Damm 1).
Record: Lincolnwood (1-12).