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MTZ girls basketball loses two to finish Thanksgiving tournament

Addy Rotz attacks the Taylorville defense in a 53-41 loss against Taylorville at the 2022 Taylorville Thanksgiving Tournament.

Staff Writer

The Mt. Zion girls basketball team finished out the 2022 Taylorville Thanksgiving Tournament with losses against Taylorville and Hillsboro. Denver Anderson finished on the all-tournament team and the tournament scoring 101 points and securing 41 rebounds.

Against Taylorville, the Braves’ offense started slow, but ignited after Denver Anderson went one of two from the lone and then Addy Rotz found Anderson open on the wing for a three-point basket to give the Braves a 4-1 lead.

The Tornadoes chopped back on their next two possessions Alyvia McCullough found Kyleigh Heinsness open for her first three-point basket of the night to tie the game at 4-4. Next possession Aubrey Kietzman drove in for a layup to give the Tornadoes a 6-6 lead.

The Braves came back with Denver Anderson finding Kallianna Becker. Becker drove to the rim and made a layup to tie the game at 6-6. Lia Clampley made two free-throws to make it 8-6 in favor of the Tornadoes, but Maddie Kendall went coast-to-coast making the layup after being fouled to tie the game at 8-8.

The Braves had what would be their final lead of the night when Denver Anderson grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled making only one free-throw to give the Braves a 9-8 lead in the second quarter. The Tornadoes went on a 17-6 run to take a 25-16 lead into halftime.

The Tornadoes at one point in the third quarter took an 11-point lead, but the Braves continued to battle. Part-way through the third quarter, the Braves started to gain their momentum when Kendall found Naomi Schmahl who nailed the three-pointer to cut the Tornadoes’ lead to 31-23. Next possession, Denver Anderson cleaned up the glass and made a layup to make it a six-point game. Anderson would finish with a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds.

The Tornadoes took a 36-30 lead into the fourth quarter, but the Braves dished the first score of the fourth quarter. Denver Anderson found Ava Anderson at the top of the three-point line. Ava Anderson released the shot and nailed the three-pointer to narrow the Tornadoes. Lead to 36-33.

The Tornadoes outscored the Braves 13-8 to end the fourth quarter to win 52-41.

“Coming off a holiday and having a couple days off while playing a very tough team on their home court. I was not displeased,” Head coach Steve Marvel said. “I thought overall our effort and intensity were pretty good. We did some really good things, some things I’m pleased with. So, it’s one of those that we take and we take in stride. We learn from this and we get better, you but overall I was pleased.”

The Braves overall record fell to 2-4 and 0-1 in Apollo conference play. The Braves will face Charleston, Mahomet-Seymour and Pana this week.

“The one thing we’re going to focus on here forward is defense,” Coach Marvel said. “We have to stop drives, not get beat off the dribble and rebound better defensively. So those are going to be the things we focus on tomorrow and on Tuesday that we will need to do.”

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