The shots were there, some of them point blank, but the baskets just weren’t falling Thursday for Peotone.
Plain and simple, the Blue Devils weren’t finishing.
But as been the mantra all season, Peotone hit the boards, making up for its offensive struggles with second-chance opportunities, and took down visiting Seneca 55-48 in an Interstate 8 game.
“Coach (Steve) Strough said at the beginning of the game and all season, ‘We’re not tall, so we’ll win with defense and rebounding',” Peotone’s Emily Carstens said. “That was our main focus tonight.”
Peotone (6-2, 2-0) finished just 17-of-56 from the field, but Carstens (6 rebounds), Cora Graffeo (6 rebounds) and Carley Maupin (8 rebounds) pounded the boards and created second and third chances.
Following a tough 3-of-14 shooting performance in the third period, Peotone held a slim 38-37 advantage early in the fourth.
Rachel Koehn scored inside, Skyler Hall hit a short putback jumper on a rebound, and Carstens stole the ball at midcourt and drove hard to the basket for a score, giving Peotone a 44-37 lead.
“With a tight game, we wanted to take care of the ball,” Hall said. “We tried to take the shot that was necessary. No turnovers and a score every time down.”
Coming out of a timeout with 3:29 to go, Peotone killed 45-plus seconds off the clock moving the ball. Hall finally drew a foul and hit both free throws to put the Blue Devils up 48-40.
Carstens and Hall combined to hit 5-of-6 free throws over the final 1:15 to ice the game.
“We’ve been working a lot on free throws in practice so it’s good to see it pay off,” Carstens said.
Hall (16 points), Carstens (13) and Graffeo (10) led the Blue Devils in scoring.
Mallory Misener finished with 12 points for Seneca (4-2, 1-1). Danielle Hauch and Anna Baker added eight points each.
“We did not crash the glass at all,” Seneca coach Barb Beck said. “We struggled getting our offense initiated because we got a little panicky. Credit them. Every time they got close, they hit a big shot.”