ARTHUR — Mount Zion used a 12-2 run in the second quarter to take a 19-10 lead midway through the second quarter of Saturday's Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond's Knights Classic girls basketball tournament and held on to win 49-44 for the tournament title.
Mount Zion (14-3) forced 20 Sullivan turnovers and the Redskins were just 13-of-22 (.591) from the free throw line in the loss.
"That is what we have to do," said Mount Zion coach Shane Davis of the turnovers. "We are gong to face Mattoon and other good teams. Good teams can break presses and things like that, but you have got to be able to able to lock down teams in the half-court. I challenged them, even at halftime: 'If you hold them under 45, we would have a good chance to win,' and they did that."
The two teams play each other again at Sullivan on Jan. 11.
"Mount Zion did a great job," said Sullivan coach Sheri McCain. "They were well prepared. They knew what we were going to do and we knew what they were going to do. We just couldn't execute their game plan as well as they did theirs. We had some players that I really expected a little more production out of offensively. We will look to them in the second half of the season and we are going to see these guys in about two weeks."
Sullivan led 8-7 after a three-point play by Emily White, who was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament, early in the second.
Mount Zion began its run with a three-pointer from Lainie Wolter, the daughter of former Sullivan standout Becky (Clayton) Wolter. After a free throw by White, Emma Ewing made a free throw and Taylor Fox scored four straight, including a steal and a layup for a 15-9 lead. Another free throw by White was followed by a pair of free throws by Addison Rhoades and a bucket by Fox extended the lead to 19-10.
Sullivan pulled within 4, 48-44, with 1:30 left after White drained a three-pointer. Mount Zion gave the Redskins chances, going 1-of-4 from the free throw line in the final 36 seconds, but Sullivan couldn't take advantage.
"We have five good seniors who have been through the ropes and know what it takes," said Davis. "In a game like this maybe last year and two years ago we lose. We maintained our composure and the kids did a great job."
Contact Mike Monahan at (217)-238-6854. Follow him on Twitter: @monahanmikejgtc
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