Eagles end losing streak; Wascher surpasses 1,500 points

CHARLESTON — Steady and solid at times.

Other times, sloppy and inconsistent.

Usually there's a reason why teams are playing in the seventh-place game of an eight-team tournament.

The Rantoul Township High School and Urbana girls basketball teams displayed both tendencies during stretches of Saturday's seventh-place game at the Charleston Holiday Tournament, but the Eagles made their free throws late to hold on for a 51-43 victory on Saturday afternoon.

"We've been knocking them down all tournament," RTHS head coach Jeff McKaufsky said of his team, which went 22-of-31 from the free throw line while Urbana was only 4-of-12. "That was huge. In close games, you've got to knock them down, and that proved to be the difference."

RTHS made 9-of-14 at the free throw line in the fourth quarter to account for all their points in the final eight minutes.

Sophomore guard Jasmine Riggs put the game away by making 4-of-4 in the final 35 seconds to help the Eagles (6-10) snap a seven-game losing streak.

RTHS led the entire game, but the Tigers (1-14) made it interesting in the fourth quarter.

Leading 42-33 after sophomore guard Jasmine Riggs (seven points) made a 3-pointer with 2:16 left in the third quarter, the Eagles did not make another field goal the rest of the game.

A 3-pointer by freshman guard Kiara Moses and an athletic move inside by senior forward Karidia Shelby cut RTHS' lead to 42-40 with 6:30 remaining.

Moses led Urbana with 17 points and grabbed five rebounds.

"She's one of those basketball players who just has a natural instinct for the game, but she knows that she has plenty to work on to," Urbana head coach Aimee Smith said. "Lately, she's been doing a really good job of working on those, and she definitely brings an energy to us on the court when she comes ready to play."

Shelby added 10 points and nine rebounds while senior guard Jessica Mack finished with 11 points for the Tigers.

Two technical fouls on Urbana in the fourth quarter, howevre, allowed RTHS to take advantage at the free throw line. The Eagles went ahead 47-40 with 2:33 left after senior forward Hannah Wascher made two technical free throws.

Wascher led all scorers with 24 points and grabbed 19 rebounds. During the Eagles' 51-45 loss to Decatur Eisenhower on Friday at the tournament, she surpassed the 1,500-point plateau.

The four-year starter goes into the Eagles' game on Thursday against Bloomington Central Catholic with 1,527 career points. She needs 70 more to break Yolanda Smith's program record of 1,596 points.

"It's exciting because not many people can say they've reached 1,000 points by their senior year, let alone by the time they graduate," Wascher said. "To reach 1,500 points is an accomplishment. It's definitely a milestone in my high school career."
mdaniels@rantoulpress.com

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