Controlling the majority of the game, the Borgia basketball Lady Knights captured the Peoples Bank Holiday Classic championship Friday over host Sullivan, 48-31.
“It was a good performance,” Borgia Head Coach Stacia Parsell said. “We just kept extending that lead. We did a good job putting enough pressure on Sullivan so that they were uncomfortable when they usually would go on a run.”
Borgia (4-1) scored the last seven points of the first quarter to take an 11-4 lead after one quarter and never looked back.
The Lady Knights led Sullivan (5-1) at the half, 19-11, and after three quarters, 30-18.
“We lost to them three times last year, so we really wanted to come back and just get the win today,” Borgia senior Emily Grahl said.
The Lady Eagles struggled against Borgia’s pressure, turning the ball over 22 times to Borgia’s 12 turnovers. Sullivan struggled from the field, hitting 13 of 47 attempts (2-19 from three-point range). Borgia was 14-38 from the floor and 1-9 from beyond the arc.
“We took real good care of the ball,” Borgia senior Janie Arand said. “Our trap was pretty successful and caused some unforced turnovers.”
Borgia was able to seal the win at the free-throw line, hitting 19 of 29 attempts. Sullivan advanced to the charity stripe nine times, sinking only three.
“Sullivan didn’t shoot very well tonight,” Parsell said. “We know when we see them again, they will shoot better and they will be ready to handle the pressure.”
Led by all-tournament selections Arand and sophomore Megan Jensen, Borgia played a controlled style of basketball to maintain the lead throughout the contest.
“It was a good team win,” Jensen said. “We all worked really hard in there and we’re happy with the outcome.”
Arand, a member of the first team, scored 13 points while pulling down seven rebounds and adding four steals. She went 6-7 from the free-throw line and hit one three-point basket.
“It’s real exciting to win the title,” Arand said. “Last year, we didn’t even have the chance to play for a championship in a tournament and this year, we won our first tournament. That’s really exciting.”
Arand ended the tournament five points away from 1,000 for her career and likely will reach that mark Thursday, Jan. 2, when Borgia hosts Bishop DuBourg in a makeup game.
“It’s hard for her to score against teams like this,” Parsell said. “She did a really good job defensively. There are a lot of times she came down with rebounds that she wouldn’t have gotten last year. She’s just playing with a lot of confidence and a lot of ease. She doesn’t get too upset or frazzled. She keeps under control and that keeps everyone else under control.”
Jensen, a second-team pick, was a force near the basket, scoring 11 points with 10 rebounds. She also had two steals.
“I gave her a hard time after Monday’s game and this has been something of a turning point for her,” Parsell said. “I told her she deserves to be on the all-tournament team. She does an excellent job and works her tail off and just pounds away on the inside without complaining. She’s going to just get better.”
Jensen was motivated after Monday’s game.
“It’s just putting my mind to it and working hard in practice,” Jensen said. “It will come. I’m hoping to continue it.”
Sophomore super sub Kaylee Heggemann had another big game for the Lady Knights as well, scoring 13 points with four steals, two rebounds and one assist.
“She’s grown up this week,” Parsell said. “The first couple of games, she was trying to figure out what her role is. I think we’re going to see her improve night in and night out. She makes a difference in everything she does.”
Grahl scored five points with four steals, two assists and one rebound.
“These girls are great,” Grahl said. “I know I always can rely on them. Wherever I look, they will be there to receive a pass.”
Junior Molly Arand recorded five points with two rebounds, two steals and one assist.
Junior Cassandra Halsted added one point, one rebound and one steal.
“She just goes in and does her job,” Parsell said.
Juniors Holly Swartz and Josie Krawitz and sophomore Allison Stapel played the final minute.
“I thought we were pretty composed and we all did what we needed to do,” Janie Arand said.
Borgia recorded 17 steals in the game to seven for Sullivan. Sullivan outrebounded the Lady Knights, 38-26.
Senior Sierra Pryor, MVP of last year’s Peoples Bank Holiday Classic, led the Lady Eagles in scoring with 10 points to go with three rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Senior Taylor Lucas, who made the all-tournament first team, scored six points while pulling down 10 rebounds. She also had two steals and one assist.
Senior guard Tessa Johanning hit both of the three-point baskets for Sullivan. She ended with six points, four rebounds and one assist.
Senior Aley Lucas, an all-tournament second team selection, scored five points with six rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Junior Megan Brandt added four points, two rebounds, one assist and one steal.
Also playing for Sullivan were junior Kaitlynn Hill (five rebounds and a blocked shot), senior Hannah Mincemeyer (one assist, one rebound and one steal) and junior Skylar Evans (three rebounds).
As Borgia and Sullivan played three times last season in tournaments, it’s highly likely the two teams could match up again.
“We’ve got to keep working hard in practice,” Janie Arand said. “We’ll just worry about our next game from there.”