MORRIS — After losing their first game of the 22nd Annual Morris Ladies Shootout to Hononegah on Tuesday, the Minooka girls basketball team got on a roll and won their next five to take the championship of the Gold Bracket. The Indians defeated Lockport, 62-46, in the bracket's title game.
The Indians won their final two games Tuesday, defeating Antioch and Morris Team 2, which was taking the place of East Aurora, which could not make the tournament due to a scheduling conflict.
That put Minooka's record at 2-1 in pool play and placed the Indians and first-year coach Jeff Easthon in the Gold Bracket for Wednesday's action.
Minooka began the day with a 37-28 victory over Metea Valley.
Savannah Johnson had a pair of baskets and Cierra Bachmann added one as Minooka built a 6-3 lead. A layup and then a three-pointer by Allison Bugajsk pushed the Mnooka lead to 11-3 and a free throw by Brook McNally and another basket by Johnson made it 14-3. Metea Valley closed the first half on a 9-6 spurt to make it 20-12 at halftime.
After Johnson opened the second half with a basket, Bugajski hit a three-pointer and then scored on a layup off an assist from Bachmann to make it 27-12. Minooka's lead reached 37-19 before Metea ended the game on a 9-0 run.
The Gold Bracket semifinal was a nip-and-tuck affair, with neither Minooka nor Ottawa able to build more than a five-point lead. Bachmann made two free throws with 2.1 seconds left to make the final score of 38-33.
Ottawa led 16-14 at halftime, but Minooka got four points from Johnson and two from McNally to take a 20-17 lead and a bucket by Bachmann put Minooka ahead, 22-17. Ottawa rallied to tie it at 23 and eventually took a 31-28 lead before Lizzy Cullen tied it for Minooka with a three-pointer. Ottawa took a 32-31 lead, but Caitlyn Hoover put the Indians ahead for good with a three-pointer at the 1:02 mark.
In the title game of the Gold Bracket, Minooka rallied from an 18-15 decicit late in the first half to take a 23-20 halftime lead and never trailed in the second half. Lockport pulled to within 33-31, but Minooka outscored the Porters 29-15 to end the game.
Minooka led 39-33 before Abby Pettigrew drained back-to-back three-pointers to give the Indians a 45-33 lead and Minooka's lead was never less than 10 the rest of the way.
"We played well," Minooka first-year coach Jeff Easthon said. "We got a lot of contributions from a lot of people. That's what the summer is for, for the most part. We want to see what everybody can do and they did a good job.
"Cierra Bachmann and Savannah Johnson are very good players and very good leaders. We stress defense, and our girls played really good defense in this entire tournament. That's something that can be there whether your shooting is on or not."