Wethersfield 1A regional: Wethersfield 59, LaMoille/Ohio 29
KEWANEE — The postseason for the LaMoille/Ohio Lady Lions ended for them too soon after it began.
After a 59-29 win over DePue in Tuesday night's opening play at the Wethersfield 1A Regional, in which senior Lexi Loftus passed the 2,000 point mark in her high school career, the Lady Lions fell to the host Flying Geese 73-34 on Wednesday evening.
Leading the charge for Wethersfield were Lexi Nichols (16 points), Tess Anderson (14), and Brittany Litton (11) while Loftus tallied 22 points for the Lady Lions.
Nichols was especially effective at turning steals into layup scores, making the Lady Lions look twice before passing.
"Our sophomore guard (Nichols) did a good job of doing that," Wethersfield coach Shane Tucker said. "She's a ball hawk, and she's quick. She's really picking up her role."
"The passing lanes that we had, our spacing we were trying to make too far," LaMoille/Ohio coach Bobby Wilson said. "We were making too quick our passes and it just wasn't working out for us."
Wethersfield jumped to leads of 5-0, 11-2, and 14-7 in the first quarter, then went on a 16-0 run to help extend their lead to 34-13 at the half, with only Loftus able to answer back for the Lady Lions in the first 16 minutes.
"The first quarter we did a pretty good job," Wilson said. "We were getting back on defense and transition pretty well, finding the ball.
"The fact they have more pieces that they can throw out there took over, and their athleticism obviously did some things."
Wethersfield, however, was not taking their advantage for granted. Their plan to limit Loftus was still in effect.
"Yeah, we tried to play some man and didn't do a good job of it," Tucker said. "She (Loftus) got going a little bit and kept it closer than we wanted, so we switched back to what we normally do and it worked a little bit better."
Nichols and Anderson combined for a 14-0 run in the third quarter to help widen the Wethersfield lead to 57-20 at it's end. The Flying Geese subs got in some scoring of their own in the fourth quarter to further pad the lead to the eventual 73-34 final score.
Though disappointed with the evening ending their season at 7-21 and 3-5, Wilson (with assistant coach and wife Melissa Wilson) enjoyed coaching his team and said there was a lot of good to take away from this year into next.
"Certainly, certainly. We have eight sophomores on this team," he said. "The experience they were able to gain this year is huge. Obviously we lose Lexi, there will never be anybody like her at LaMoille/Ohio.
"Her leadership ability, the way that she prepares every day makes her the player she is. I always tell the girls to take notes on that. We're excited about next year."
Loftus, for her part, was happy to play her role in the team's rebuilding process.
"We just got everybody to step up, one game at a time, helping better their game," she said. "I want to be a leader for the younger girls to look up to, because I love the game and want them to love it too."
Loftus ends her high school career with 2,027 points, only the second girl in Bureau County history to reach that accomplishment (Hall's Kailey Klein has 2,496) and the joy of that achievement she knows no one can take away.
"I'm really happy I could join a great group of girls in the 2,000 point club," she said. "They worked hard to get there, and it feels really good that I could be a part of that."