Streak streak ended in Sectional

By John Ring

Silver Streak fans knew going into Sectional play Monday night that historically, most of Galesburg’s toughest tournament games have occurred in the Sectional semifinals.

That held true when Peoria Richwoods– a talented but combustible team– held off the Streaks and finished their season with a 55-47 win.

The Knights used a combination of factors; Biannca Ward scored 13 of Richwoods’ first 15 points, Megan McGann picked up the slack when Ward faltered and 5’11" Stephanie Cole provided the inside presence needed after volatile star Stephanie Lovingood was dismissed from the team last week.

"We’ve went through a tough time together," said McGann. "It’s been hard. What we’ve done the last few weeks is get rid of the negativity."

But it was Richwoods’ defense that won them the game.

"The combination of Richwoods’ quickness and defensive intensity was something we could not overcome," said Streaks Coach Evan Massey. "If they continue to play with that intensity, they will be tough to beat."

"But," Massey added, "they haven’t shown that in the regular season."

Trailing 21-11, Galesburg mounted a comeback capped by a Jenna Bicego drive to the basket that gave them a 24-23 lead just before halftime. A three-point basket by Michelle Dennison midway in the third quarter gave the streaks a 30-28 lead but it was all Richwoods after that.

"We knew Galesburg would come at us hard.," said McGann. "They’re too good. We have a lot of respect for them."

Trailing 44-40 with four minutes to go in the game, the Knights defensive intensity showed again. The Streaks were tentative on offense, used up good chunks of the clock and never got into any kind of a rhythm.

The loss stopped a string of nine consecutive Sectional titles that the Silver Streaks have won.

Richwoods Coach Terry Quilty showed nothing but respect for the Streaks basketball program after the game. Quilty has taken it on the chin from Galesburg several times– including routs by the scores of 77-29 and 80-50– but the Knights have won three out of the last four games.

"We’ve elevated to their level," said Quilty. "It’s a credit to the kids. They stepped up in the last few weeks. When you get a kid like Stephanie Cole that steps up and plays well this time of year, it means a lot."

"To reach the level of Evan’s program is very rewarding. It’s been a heck of an effort on his part. If we had half of the support that Galesburg gets from its fans, I’d be elated. It’s a great atmosphere for high school basketball."