The 15th annual Lady Jackets Mid-Winter Classic basketball tournament is under way with the first two games in the books. Chester kicked off the tournament by hosting Cobden Monday, Jan. 3. The Jackets defeated the Lady Appleknockers 69-18. In Game 2, New Athens hosted the Trico Lady Pioneers, beating them 46-39.
Chester and New Athens will advance to face each other at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 6, in the championship bracket, while Cobden and Trico will face off at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 5 in the consolation bracket.
The 2022 LJMWC features eight teams -- Chester (1), Dupo (2), Marissa (3), New Athens (4), Trico (5), Valmeyer (6), Freeburg (7), and Cobden (8).
On Tuesday, Jan. 4, No. 2 Dupo will face No. 7 Freeburg, followed by No. 3 Marissa against No. 6 Valmeyer. The winners will play at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 6, and the losers will play at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 5.
All teams will take a rest Friday, Jan. 7, and the tournament will close Saturday, Jan. 8, with competition starting at 4 p.m. with the seventh-place game. The consolation championship game will start at 5:15 p.m. The third-place game will tip off at 6:30 p.m., followed by the championship game at 8 p.m.
Chester 69, Cobden 18
The "Magnificent 7" Chester High School girls kicked off the 2022 LJMWC with a commanding defeat over the Cobden Lady Appleknockers. Chester opened the tournament with a Rylie Conley 3-pointer just seconds into the game and never looked back.
The Lady Jackets then proceeded to go on a 26-2 first quarter run to set the tone for the game. In that race CHS junior Camryn Howie ran away with the game, scoring 17 of Chester's 26 points on three 3-pointers, three 2-pointers, and perfect 2-for-2 free-throw shooting. Conley added 7 points and Alyssa Seymour made 2-of-4 free throws to complete the run.
In the second quarter the Lady Jackets outscored Cobden, 18-7 to take a commanding 44-9 halftime lead into the locker room.
In that 18-point barrage, Howie made all three of her free throws and both of her field goals to pace Chester with 7 points. Conley continued to shine by sinking a field goal, and both of her free-throw attempts. Seymour made 3-of-4 shots at the charity stripe and Kailyn Absher and Jazzi Merideth got in the books with field goals.
In the first half, Cobden's Maddie Moreland hit the Appleknockers' only bucket of the first quarter. In the second period, Abby Remsey drained a 3-pointer, and Moreland and Kylie Hale each hit field goals.
Kailyn Absher kicked off the second half with a basket just 30 seconds into the quarter to extend Chester's lead to 46-9. Remsey answered with a 3-pointer for Cobden 12 seconds later, and the Lady Appleknockers trailed 46-12 at the 7:21 mark.
Chester's two seniors -- Kailyn Absher and Seymour -- then took CHS on a 6-0 run to extend the Lady Jacket lead to 52-12 at the 4:00 mark. Conley continued that run to 8 points with a 2-pointer at the 3:11 mark and Chester led, 54-12.
At the 2:20 mark, Cobden's Remsey drained her second 3-pointer of the quarter to bring the Appleknockers within 39 points, 54-15. To close out the third period, Howie made her fourth 3-pointer of the game and Conley made her 15th and final point of the game to extend Chester's lead to 59-15 with just a minute to play.
With just seconds to play, Cobden's Dora Funes went to the line and made 1-of-2 free throws. The Jackets led 59-16 at the third-quarter buzzer.
Throughout the final quarter there was a continuous clock. coach Clint Cowan instructed his seven players to slow the game down, but it was impossible to make them quit playing.
Howie made her fifth 3-pointer of the game just seconds into the fourth quarter. Cowan once again instructed his Lady Jackets to slow the pace. With 4:11 remaining in the game, the Jackets led 62-18 after Cobden's Rhylee Sauerbaum made two free shots at the charity stripe.
Chester's Emma Diskey made a fantastic 3-point play the traditional way at the 3:10 mark when she took the ball to the hoop down low and scored. She was fouled on the play and made her free throw. She extended Chester's lead to 65-18.
With just 1:48 remaining in the contest, Chester's Kailyn Absher took an assisted pass in the 3-point area. Her instinct was to drain a trey, but Cowan yelled for her to hold the ball. At that split second Absher unleashed a perfect shot that entered the hoop and Absher added 3 points to the Lady Jacket total. CHS led 68-18.
With just 49 second left to play in the game, Chester's Diskey had the ball and was fouled attempting a last-second shot. She went to the line and made 1-of-2 to end the game with Chester in the lead, 69-18.
In the win, Chester was led by Howie, who scored a game-high 30 points. Conley also had an excellent game and added 15 points. Other offensive contributors included Seymour and Kailyn Absher with 9 points apiece, Diskey with 4 and Merideth with 2.
In the win, the Jackets made 17 2-pointers, seven 3-pointers, and were 14-of-19 at the free-throw line (89%).
Cobden was paced by Remsey, who scored 9 points, followed by Maddie Moreland (4), Kylie Hale (2), Rhylee Sauerbaum (2), and Dora Funes (1). The Lady Appleknockers made three 3-pointers, three 2-pointers and were 3-of-4 at the free-throw line (75%).
With the win. Chester improved to an overall record of 8-10 for the season and advanced to play New Athens Thursday.
New Athens 46, Trico 39
The New Athens Lady Jackets hosted the Trico Lady Pioneers in Game 2 of the tournament.
Trico led 10-9 after one quarter of play. New Athens outscored Trico 9-8 in the second quarter to tie the game 18-18 at halftime.
In the third period, New Athens outscored Trico 16-10 to retake a 34-28 lead going into the final period. Down the stretch, New Athens outscored the Lady Pioneers 12-11 to win the game, 46-39.
New Athens was led by Gabby Schmeiderer with 14 points, followed by Peyton Houser (9), Emma Hager (9), Ainslee Sullivan (8), Mallory Kohnen (4), and Grace Lauer (2).
Trico was paced by Taylor Cotton with 16 points, followed by Haley Kranawetter (10), Autumn Kennedy (5), Alyssa Bastien (4), and Mia Jimenez (2).