Sierra Pryor’s three-point shot from in front of the Sullivan bench with about two seconds to play lifted the Sullivan Lady Eagles to the championship of the Union Tournament Saturday over Helias, 49-48.
“It was a very good game and competitive from start to finish,” Sullivan Head Coach Jason Merkel said. “Helias was bigger and a very tough opponent, but I was proud of how our kids didn’t let their size effect us and how we didn’t give up.”
Helias Head Coach Doug Light said he knew that his team needed to account for Pryor’s location throughout the game.
“We did what we could do to keep Sierra from doing damage,” Helias Head Coach Doug Light said. “She was able to get open and make that shot. She’s a really good player who made a really good play. We had told the girls to stay attached. It looked like they weren’t even going to get the shot off before they found her in the corner.”
Pryor’s basket helped Sullivan stay undefeated on the season at 12-0 while upending the defending tournament champions. Helias fell to 10-4 with the loss.
“It was a great high school game to watch between two pretty good teams,” Light said. “They’re pretty tough. They’re No. 3 in the state. They have a lot of talent and they’re well coached.”
Both teams had representation on the all-tournament team.
Sullivan had the MVP, junior Aley Lucas. Also making the team were Pryor and junior Taylor Lucas.
Helias players on the all-tournament team were seniors Taylor Hagenhoff and Emma Verslues.
Both coaching staffs matched wits with five timeouts being called between the clubs during the final 35 seconds of the game.
Helias had the ball in the closing seconds, but Sullivan decided to put the Lady Crusaders at the free-throw line with enough time to get the final attempt.
Verslues hit both of her free throws with 13.4 seconds left in the game, putting Helias up by a 48-46 score.
Sullivan moved down the floor and set up their final play after a timeout with 12.8 seconds to play.
Looking for a shot, Sullivan opted to go for the win and Pryor, who had been the MVP at the Sullivan Tournament earlier this season, came through with the basket from the right side. Helias tried to get a timeout, but the game ended before one was called.
Taylor Lucas led Sullivan in scoring with 12 points and added seven rebounds, four assists and a steal.
Aley Lucas scored 11 points with three rebounds, one assist and one steal.
“In the first half, Aley Lucas caught fire with three threes and a two,” Light said. “The kids adjusted and she didn’t score in the second half. Sullivan has so many weapons that it’s hard to stop them.”
Senior Jessica Heinle and Pryor each had seven points. Heinle added three rebounds, two steals and an assist. Pryor also had five assists, three steals, two blocked shots and a rebound.
Sophomore Megan Brandt and senior Demi Reed scored four points apiece. Brandt also had two rebounds and an assist. Reed had three rebounds and two assists.
Sophomore Kaitlynn Hill and junior Tessa Johanning each scored two points. Hill also had two rebounds and an assist. Johanning added a rebound and a steal.
Hagenhoff led Helias with 13 points.
Senior Bre Zanders scored 10 points before fouling out with 1:58 left in the game.
Junior Megan Nappier netted seven points.
Verslues scored six points.
Junior Kelsi Bernskoetter scored five points.
Senior Hillary Hentges contributed four points.
Freshman Molly Light added a three-point basket.
Also playing were junior Baylee Francka, freshman Mai Nienheuser and sophomore Darcy Baird.
Sullivan defeated Borgia, 49-41. An account of that game can be found elsewhere in this section.
Helias advanced to the title game with a 46-33 win over St. Charles West.
Hagenhoff led the Lady Crusaders with 26 points, hitting four three-point baskets while going 6-8 from the free-throw line.
Nappier was next with nine points while Verslues and Zanders scored five apiece and Nienhueser added one.
Jessie Schmidt led St. Charles West with 13 points.
Kacy Eschweiler scored nine and Ashley Haupert added four. Amy Brown, Megan Graves and Jensen Houdyshell scored two points apiece while Paige Prigge ended with one.