Herald-Whig

Buzzer-beater eliminates Unity from sectional

Addison Eger
By THE HERALD-WHIG STAFF
Posted: Feb. 12, 2019 12:01 am

ABINGDON, Ill. -- Unity girls basketball coach Brad Begeman wouldn't change how his team defended Illini Bluffs on the final play of Monday night's Class 1A sectional semifinal game.

"We did everything we needed to," Begeman said. "We got out on their shooters and put a hand in their face. They just got one to fall."

After the Tigers gathered two offensive rebounds, 6-foot junior Hannah Alvey scored from the left block at the buzzer, ending Unity's season with a 29-27 loss at Abingdon-Avon High School.

The Mustangs (14-13) were trying to reach the sectional championship game for the second time in school history. Illini Bluffs (24-6) will play Lewistown -- a 49-47 winner over Brimfield -- in the sectional title game at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Unity's Addison Eger tied the score at 27 by driving to the basket with 34 seconds left in the game.

The Tigers called a timeout with 24.6 seconds left to set up the game-winning play. Hanna Hicks and Addison Welsh both missed shots in the final six seconds before Alvey rebounded the second miss and scored.

"We told all five players they had to go to the boards and try to get a rebound," Begeman said. "We're not tall, and we didn't match up with them very well size-wise, but we almost got it."

An 11-0 run covering more than six minutes of the first half put Illini Bluffs in control with a 19-9 lead.

Unity trailed 21-12 at halftime but outscored the Tigers 11-2 in the third quarter. Karleigh Parrish took a pass from Alyssa Steinkamp and drained a 3-pointer from the left wing with 52 seconds left in the third to tie the score at 23.

The Mustangs took their first lead since early in the game at 25-23 when Eger scored the first basket of the fourth quarter with 4:04 left to play.

"Once we started talking, we played a lot better defensively," Begeman said. "That made all the difference in the world."

Eger led Unity with 10 points, while Parrish made three 3-pointers off the bench and finished with nine points. Alvey finished with 15 points and Hicks added 12.

Only three of the Mustangs' losses this season were to Class 1A teams -- Lewistown, Jacksonville Routt and Illini Bluffs.

"Our schedule and the competition we played put us in this position," Begeman said. "If we don't play that schedule, this isn't a game. We might lose this one by 30 (points)."

Class 1A Abingdon-Avon Sectional

Semifinals

Illini Bluffs 29, Unity 27

UNITY (14-13)

K. Nichols 1 0-0 3, Steinkamp 0 0-0, Stiefel 0 0-0 0, Miller 2 1-2 5, Parrish 3 0-0 9, Conry 0 0-0 0, Eger 4 2-3 10, Voss 0 0-0 0. Totals 10 3-5 27.

ILLINI BLUFFS (24-6)

H. Hicks 5 2-2 12, Hafner 0 0-0 0, Welsh 0 0-0 0, Pollman 0 0-0 0, Stafford 1 0-0 2, E. Hicks 0 0-0 0, Alvey 7 1-1 15. Totals 13 3-3 29.

Unity 9 3 11 4--27

Illini Bluffs 10 11 2 6--29

3-point field goals -- Unity 4 (Nichols, Parrish 3). Fouls -- Unity 11, Illini Bluffs 7. Fouls -- Miller.