Well-rounded efforts aid Momence over Manteno
MANTENO — Momence has somewhat struggled this season at finding the right offensive balance to be at its most efficient.
However, it took a step in the right direction Thursday night, as it went into Manteno and walked out with a 48-32 victory against the Panthers.
“We’re slowly starting to find balance,” Momence coach Kris Holloway said. “We weren’t shooting well in the beginning, but I told the girls just keep shooting. If your shot is off, don’t shut down, keep shooting and eventually it will fall.”
Momence owned a 9-3 lead after the first quarter, but Manteno found some rhythm and answered back with a 7-1 run, capped by a 3-pointer from Cam Renchen, to tie the game at 10.
That was the only tie of the game, and the reminder of the night belonged to the Redskins.
They quickly shot back with an 8-0 run, followed a lay-in from Matti Lanie, before taking a 21-12 lead into hafltime.
“We missed a lot of layups and free throws in the first half and seemed a little tentative offensively,” Holloway said. “I told the girls at halftime to just keep hustling and everything would fall into place.”
Trailing 28-16 midway through the third quarter, Manteno made a small rally by outscoring Momence 12-7 down the stretch. Emma Riner had a rebound and putback at the buzzer, cutting the Redskin lead to 35-28.
Although momentum was on the Panthers’ side, they generated just four points in the final period to seal their own fate.
Momence played with a little extra pep in its step, and freshman Kate Piekarczyk had a lot to do with that.
After missing the previous two games, she returned to the lineup and provided some much-needed scoring as she finished with nine points.
It wasn’t just her scoring Momence missed, it was her ball handling and basketball IQ, according to Holloway.
“She made a big impact in this game, especially in the second half,” Holloway said. “Not only does she give us a little more size as a guard, but she’s extremely intelligent about the game. She understands the game so well for being only a freshman, and you can’t replace that attribute.”
When one thinks about Momence, the first player who comes to mind is Lanie, and with good reason, since she’s averaging 20 points per game.
But not all of her shots go in, and that’s where Brooke Kelly picks things up. Easily Momence’s best rebounder, Kelly always is under the rim anytime the ball goes up, and more than likely, when it comes down, Kelly’s hands is where it ends up.
Her tenacity and knack for getting rebounds was on display as she finished with a game-high 14 rebounds, seven of which were offensive and led to second-chance opportunities for the Redskins.
“It not just the rebounds that she’s good at, she gets a lot of blocked shots and tipped balls because she’s 5-foot-11,” Holloway said. “Her, along with Mya and Matti, tipped the ball so much that I think they made Manteno second guess their passes a few times. Brooke always gives high effort every night and this one was no different.”
Lanie led all scorers with 22 points and six rebounds. Piekarczyk followed with her nine points and Kelly had eight points along with her damage on the boards.
Kenna Selk tallied 10 points and eight rebounds for Manteno. Maddie Lacer had herself a night with six points, 12 rebounds and four assists, and Renchen, Riner and Megan McShane each had four points.
Momence returns to action when it hosts its Holiday Tournament starting on Wednesday. Manteno has the holidays off and is back on Jan. 8 at Reed-Custer.