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Murphysboro American - Murphysboro, IL
  • Lady Red Devils snap losing streak in regular season finale

  • Spurred on by solid ball handling and balanced scoring, the Murphysboro High School Lady Red Devils snapped an 18-game losing streak last Thursday night by beating up on visiting Harrisburg, 44-23, on Senior Night.


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  • Spurred on by solid ball handling and balanced scoring, the Murphysboro High School Lady Red Devils snapped an 18-game losing streak last Thursday night by beating up on visiting Harrisburg, 44-23, on Senior Night.
    Murphysboro (5-21, 1-9 SIRR Ohio Division) had made a habit of turning the ball over a lot, which helped lead to the long losing streak. Against Harrisburg, though, the turnover total was miniscule.
    "We had a little thing on our board in pre-game about, what if..." said Murphysboro co-coach Staci Hickam. "What if we take care of the today and see what happens?
    "In the last two games we've done a good job. You can see that we're recognizing things a little bit and getting the ball where it needs to be. We've done a lot of things well the last two games that we hadn't been doing."
    The two teams were tied at 10-10 early in the second period when the Lady Red Devils reeled off six straight points to go up, 16-10. Following a free throw by Harrisburg, Hilary Brewer's bucket with 2:22 left in the first half gave Murphysboro an 18-11 advantage.
    Harrisburg, though, would get a basket from Kelsey Piche, and another from Hillary Shires to close within three points at 18-15 at halftime.
    That would be as close as the Lady Bulldogs would get for the remainder of the game, though.
    Halylie Hines scored twice in the first 1:25 of the third quarter to push Murphysboro's advantage to seven points at 22-15. Alyssa Sturgeon would hit two free throws a short time later, and Hines struck again at the 5:19 mark of the third to make it 26-15.
    Piche stopped the 8-0 run with a pair of charity shots with 3:26 left in the period to make it 26-17. But the Lady Red Devils got a rebound basket from Nykeshia Dowell, a free throw from Hines, a three-point play from Cassie Torgesen, and another bucket from Dowell to grab a 34-17 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
    With the big lead, the Lady Red Devils made sure they were going to win one by beginning the final frame of playing with a 10-2 spurt.
    Hines, who finished with a team-high 11 points, got the rally going once again with two quick baskets to make it 38-17.
    Shires made it 38-19 with 6:02 remaining in the game, but Torgesen drilled two free throws a little over a minute later to extend Murphysboro's advantage to 21 points at 40-19. Dowell followed with a bucket, and Rosie Hines' basket with 2:58 remaining made it 44-19.
    Harrisburg scored the final four points of the game for the final margin, and when the final horn sounded the Lady Red Devils got to celebrate a win, for a change.
    Page 2 of 2 - "We played the whole game like we had confidence,'' Hickam said.
    No player has been more confident of late than Dowell, who scored 10 points against Harrisburg. She had  a team-high 14 points against Carterville a night earlier.
    "She's playing her best basketball right now,'' Hickam said of Dowell. "I think everybody is. Hopefully, we're peaking at the right time of the year."
    That time of the year would be the postseason, which begins on Monday at the high school.
    "We're coming in on a high note,'' Hickam said. "Right now everything feels good. We have a little spring in our step."
    The Lady Red Devils almost had that spring in their step a day earlier, but wound up falling to Carterville 42-32.
    The contest was close throughout, with Carterville holding a 23-21 halftime lead.
    The Lions were up, 34-30 heading into the fourth quarter before Chelsi Gillespie scored off of an offensive rebound to make it 34-32.
    But those would be the only points of the fourth quarter for Murphysboro, and Carterville started to pull away a bit.
    After extending the lead, Carterville's Kelsea Ashton made 4-of-6 free throws down the stretch to ice the game.
    Ashton led the Lions with a game-high 17 points. Dowell was the only Murphysboro player to finish in double figures.
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