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Lady Knight basketball hosts 16-school summer shootout

Photo by Anthony Jones: Triad’s Makenna Witham readies a shot near the basket.

By Anthony Jones

The hardwood floors at Triad High School and Silver Creek Elementary saw a return to action last week as they hosted a sixteen-team girls basketball summer tournament.

Play featured 20 minute halves with a running clock.

Among the field of teams at the June 28 event was O’Fallon, the defending Class 4A state champions. Fellow Mississippi Valley Conference foes Highland, Civic Memorial and Waterloo participated in the event as well. Belleville West, Effingham, Freeburg, Carlyle, Edwardsville, Greenville, Althoff, Breese Central, Collinsville, Father McGivney and Harrisburg rounded out the field.

“I appreciate all 15 other teams coming. I thought it was a really good tournament, really good competition and quality games throughout. Our games today were four tight games and we found a way to win three of them,” Triad Coach Josh Hunt said of the event.

The Lady Knights only loss of the event came in the opening round. That defeat came at the hands of the Carlyle Indians, who finished their winter campaign 28-6.

In their subsequent contests, Triad knocked off Edwardsville and Freeburg, earning them a spot in the ninth-place contest.

Collinsville earned the other slot in the consolation final, having defeated Althoff and Collinsville. The lone Kahok loss came against Civic Memorial.

The first half of the placement game saw Collinsville jump ahead 10-4, but an 11-0 run gave Triad the lead. At halftime, the Lady Knights held to a 20-15 lead.

The hosts’ lead swelled as large as 32-15 in the latter half, yet their purple-uniformed opponents pulled within striking distance at 37-35. Triad ultimately held on for a 42-35 victory.

Hunt remarked about his unit’s ninth-place finish and three-win day, “I’m really proud of the girls for the fact that they’re figuring out how to deal with adversity. There’s obviously unique circumstances in the summer but Collinsville made a legit comeback to their credit and our girls didn’t get down. They continued the battle and fight and pulled out a win.”

Their manager also sees improvement in his squad that finished last season 5-23.

“They’re getting better each and every day. Last year, we were really young and inexperienced. We’re a year older and ideally a year better.”

The Lady Knights lineup will only lose two seniors from their last campaign, while returning their top-two scorers in Savannah Hildebrand and Makenna Witham. They are also set to return their only junior from last year, Maddie Hunt, who has played in 63 varsity games already.

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