The #1 seed of the 2019 Lady Jacket Mid-Winter Classic Basketball Tournament spoiled a storybook finish for the #2 seeded Chester Lady Jackets, who came within nine points of winning their own tournament.
The Marissa Meteors put the Lady Jackets away late in the game to win their second consecutive Midwinter Classic.
In the third place game, #3 New Athens beat #4 seed Elverado. In the Consolation Championship, #5 Sparta beat #6 Cobden.
Besides the trophy, each member of the Marissa-Coulterville squad also received a championship medal.
The starting five for the All-Tournament Team are Most Valuable Player, Emily Smith, a Marissa-Coulterville sophomore; Bree Portz, a Marissa-Coulterville freshman; Destiny Williams, a Chester junior; Allie Whittington, an Elverado senior; and Danika White, a New Athens junior.
The remaining six All-Tournament Team members are Jenna Hartline, a Cobden junior; Sam Cottom, a Trico sophomore; Reese Chandler, a Chester sophomore; Tinleigh Jakimauskas, a Valmeyer sophomore; Julia Drake, a New Athens junior; and Amyia Henry, a senior from Sparta.
CHS 49; Valmeyer 14
The first game for the Lady Jackets started out with Chester shutting out the Valmeyer Lady Pirates 31-0 in the first quarter. During the run, Destiny Williams scored 10; Reese Chandler made three 3-pointers; Kendall Williams made three 2-pointers and freshman Alyssa Seymour went 2-for-2 from the free throw line.
Chester Head Coach Pat Knowles benched his starters early in the second quarter, and the bench outscored Valmeyer, 8-7 to take a 39-7 lead into halftime. Kendall Williams had two points, Peyton Clendenin and Audrey Hopper had a field goal apiece and Bailey Wahl and Ally Rowold sank free throws.
In the third and fourth quarters Coach Knowles substituted freely and the Jackets still outscored the Lady Pirates 6-2 in the third period to lead 45-9 after three quarters. In the fourth quarter Hopper and Clendenin each added a field goal apiece, and Valmeyer scored five points on Arianna Gibbs' two field goals and Lexi Davis' free throw.
For the game Chester had scoring from all but one player: Destiny Williams (13), Reese Chandler (9), Kendall Williams (8), Josie Kattenbraker, Alyssa Seymour and Peyton Clendenin (4), Audrey Hopper and Katie Shinabargar (2) and Ally Rowold, Bailey Wahl and Kailyn Absher (1).
For the night the Jackets were 5 for 10 from the free throw line and 20 for 71 from the field. They scored 16 two-pointers and four three-pointers in addition to five free throws.
Chester grabbed 40 rebounds, led by Audrey Hopper and Kailyn Absher with seven apiece. CHS dished out six assists led by Destiny Williams and Kendall Williams with two apiece.
The Lady Jackets recorded 24 steals, led by Kendall Williams; they had seven deflections led by Kendall Williams with three. Josie Kattenbraker led in loose ball recoveries with two; the team had six. Finally, the Jackets blocked four shots led by Kailyn Absher who had two.
Valmeyer was led by Tinleigh Jakimauskas who had seven points, followed by Ariana Gibbs (6), and Lexi Davis (1).
"The girls played well and had fun," Knowles said after the game. "All but one of our players scored and everyone got plenty of playing time. I am proud of our girls; they never give up, and play unselfishly."
CHS 49; N. Athens 33
The No. 2 Lady Jackets took on the No. 3 seed New Athens Lady Yellowjackets in the semifinal round. Chester roared out to a comfortable 13-3 lead in the first quarter.
After Alyssa Seymour set the tone with a power layup just seconds into the game, Reese Chandler hit three 3-pointers in a row to give Chester an 11-3 lead with 3:17 to play in the first. Destiny Williams closed the period and an 8-0 run with a driving layup giving CHS a 13-3 first quarter lead.
Kendall Williams started the second period with a field goal and added two more. Destiny Williams knocked down a 3-pointer and two field goals and Josie Kattenbraker started an 11-2 run by draining a pair of free throws. Chester led 28-8 at halftime.
Alyssa Seymour, a CHS freshman, began the second half with a steal and a driving layup. She struck again -- another steal, another layup -- at the 6:30 mark. She hit another layup with 5:46 to play in the third quarter to give the Lady Jackets a 34-12 lead.
Chester had a minor meltdown -- three turnovers -- prompting Knowles to call a time out. By that time New Athens gone on a 7-0 run to pull within 15 points, 34-19.
Kendall Williams and Reese Chandler then went to work, closing out the quarter with a pair of field goals and Williams also sank a free throw to give Chester a 39-23 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The final quarter was a 10-10 battle with Chester's bench holding their own in the final minutes of the game. Alyssa Seymour hit a layup to open the quarter. Destiny Williams hit back-to-back shots and together Williams and Seymour scored six of Chester's 10 points.
Kailyn Absher connected for a field goal at the 1:51 mark to give CHS a 47-29 lead. Ally Rowold closed the door with a 10-foot set shot with just .39 seconds to play. Chester won the game, 49-33 to advance to the 2019 LJMWC Championship game.
For the night, Chester had scoring from seven different players, led by Destiny Williams with 13 points, seven rebounds, one assist, two steals, two blocked shots and one deflection. Reese Chandler added 11 points, one assist, two steals, one deflection and a blocked shot. Alyssa Seymour had 10 points, five rebounds, two steals, and one blocked shot. Kendall Williams scored nine points, grabbed three boards, dished out one assist, and recorded two deflections.
Josie Kattenbraker, Ally Rowold and Kailyn Absher each scored two points apiece. Kattenbraker had five rebounds and one assist; Rowold had one rebound and Absher had two rebounds, one assist, one blocked shot and one loose ball recovery.
For the night Chester hit 17 two-pointers, four three-pointers and shot 3 for 6 at the free throw line. From the field the Lady Jackets were 21-of-49 (43%).
New Athens had seven players who scored, led by Danika White who had 14 points, followed by Julia Drake (7), Lainey Deterding (4) and Taylor Marhanka, Madi Stewart, Grace Lauer, and Amber Jones with two points apiece. The win sent CHS into the championship game to face Marissa.
Marissa 44; CHS 35
Chester faced Marissa in the title game, fresh off a game two weeks earlier at the Lebanon Tournament where the Meteors edged Chester by just two points. The Lady Jackets hoped to avenge the loss.
But the Meteors were tuned up. They opened the game with a 6-0 run, buoyed by four turnovers the Lady Jackets committed in the opening five minutes. In spite of the poor start, Chester trailed by just one point, 8-7 after one quarter of play.
Chester turned the ball over in the opening seconds of the second quarter. But Destiny Williams stole the ball back and scored on a layup to take a 9-8 lead.
Kalyn Absher scored two points to extend the lead to 11-8 and Destiny Williams dished a fantastic pass to Josie Kattenbraker who drove hard to the basket for a layup. She missed the shot, but got her own rebound and put it in for another two points, and Chester completed a 6-0 run to extend the lead to 13-8.
That run ended when, with 5:24 left in the half, Chester again turned the ball over. Marissa capitalized and scored. Destiny Williams answered with a hard drive through the lane for another score. Chester led, 15-14 with 4:26 left.
Chester Coach Pat Knowles called a time out to set up a play following another Lady Jacket turnover at the 4:04 mark. Marissa then turned the ball over with 3 minutes to go and Kendall Williams drained a 3-pointer with 2:36 to play in the half. Each team traded turnovers and scores, and at the halftime buzzer the Jackets trailed by only one point, 21-20.
The Meteors drew first blood of the second half with a two-point field goal. Chester answered with a pair of free throws and came within one point, 24-23, at the 6:30 mark in the third period.
After the half Josie Kattenbraker came back on the court with a new sense of confidence. She started crashing the boards and driving the lanes to draw fouls. Her defense was awesome too -- at the 4:24 mark Kattenbraker drew two fouls, making both free throws to bring Chester within two points, 27-25.
Kailyn Absher drained a field goal to tie the game, 27-27, but Marissa quickly answered with two field goals, to lead 32-27 at the end of the 3rd quarter.
In the final period, Alyssa Seymour made 3-of-4 for throws and Josie Kattenbraker connected for a huge 3-pointer at the 5:21 mark. Marissa, however, stayed on the attack, first with a two-pointer then a trey, then another field goal. At the 4:00 minute mark Marissa led, 39-32.
In the final 4:00 minutes the Meteors would add five more points to Chester's three and the game was over.
In the loss Chester was led by Josie Kattenbraker who scored 11 points, grabbed two rebounds and had one deflection. Destiny Williams, typically Chester's leading scorer, was held to eight points. She added one rebound, one steal and one deflection. Kendall Williams was held to seven, with one rebound. Alyssa Seymour had five points and three rebounds. Kailyn Absher had four points and had two rebounds.
For the night the Lady Jackets shot just 11 for 45 from the field, although hit 11 of 14 at the free-throw line.
"We just had an off night," Knowles said after the game. "We just didn't play well. We had a good tournament, but did not play well tonight."
With the loss the Lady Jackets were 12-8 on the season.
For the tournament, Destiny Williams had 30 points, nine rebounds, four assists, two blocked shots and two deflections. Reese Chandler had 20 points, two rebounds, one assist, one deflection and two blocked shots.