RANTOUL — The Rantoul high school girls basketball team started the first half well against the Pontiac Indians, but lost the momentum in the second half.

The Eagles struggled in their final home game on Thursday in the first period — racking up seven fouls and turning the ball over early, but the team was still able to be in striking distance. After the first period, Rantoul trailed Pontiac by only three points, 15-12. 

In the second period both Rantoul and Pontiac were racking up fouls, putting each other in the bonus. Rantoul outscored Pontiac 16-12 in the second half thanks to free throws and making baskets off of turnovers. Rantoul led at the end of the first half, 28-27.

Unfortunately, the Eagles couldn’t keep up in the second half against the Indians. Pontiac went on a 14-5 run, and Rantoul was cold from the field, shooting only 40-percent overall. Pontiac rolled to a 51-41 win. 

Proud of her team

Despite her team’s loss, Rantoul coach Renee Reed was proud of her team’s performance.

"We just kind of struggled, you know, ... numbers-wise. I think that’s where we lost that momentum at, but overall I am definitely extremely proud of the effort of the last home game," Reed said. "I kind of think the momentum was there but a lot of people were just caught up in the moment."

The Eagles were led in scoring by Myejoi Williams with 17 points, Tanaya Young with seven points and Berlasky who finished with six points. 

The 7-18 Eagles, seeded 11th, started regional tournament play Monday night against fifthseeded Champaign Central, a team that beat the Eagles 51-19 on Jan. 15.   

Reed said that it would be "bittersweet" for her senior players.

"I am hoping they come out full force and be ready," Reed said. "Regardless of a loss or win, I hope they definitely embrace the moment and just enjoy the journey that we have came thus far." 

Contact Ben Theobald at btheobald@rantoulpress.com and on Twitter @theobald_ben.