Monday night at the Illinois College campus in Jacksonville, 777
fans showed up to see the matchup between Mount Pulaski and
Okawville. By the end of the 32 minutes of play, it was the Lady
Toppers who had hit the jackpot with a 43-30 win.
Topper fashion, the ladies jumped out to an early 17-11
first-quarter lead. The Okawville Rockets, though, played their
style of ball in the second quarter and held Mount Pulaski to just
six points. Heading into the half, Mount Pulaski managed to hang on
to a 23-18 lead.
Okawville came out strong in that third quarter and outscored
Mount Pulaski again, cutting the lead to 29-27.
As coach Eric Leever has had to do from time to time this season,
he reminded his squad that they had eight minutes left to play, and
if they really wanted this game badly enough, they needed to prove
it. And let me tell you, these ladies get fired up when challenged.
A fantastic fourth quarter had the Lady Toppers coming out on top
14-3 in the scoring column.
Once again as the buzzer sounded, the crowd simply went wild.
Never before in school history had anyone witnessed the girls
basketball team earning a trip to state. These girls continue to
make history, all the while never giving up on themselves.
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Also of important note is that early in the game, senior Andrea
Dickerson scored her 1,000 point in her high school career. That
makes three Lady Toppers from this team now in the 1,000-point club.
Dickerson joins all-time scoring leader Jessica Awe and Erika Leever
in this prestigious club.
Scoring leaders on Monday night for the Redbird Arena-bound Lady
Toppers were Jessica Awe with 19 points, Erika Leever with 10 points
and Andrea Dickerson with nine. Whitney Nichols pulled down 11
rebounds to go with her two points, and Kendra Willoughby
contributed three points.
Mount Pulaski (29-4) will face Cowden at 2 p.m. Friday at Redbird
Arena in Normal.
[By TEENA LOWERY]
Editor's note: Mount Pulaski and Cowden are both
listed as co-ops going into the state tournament. Mount Pulaski has a co-op for
girls basketball with Hartsburg-Emden while Cowden has a co-op with Herrick.