STERLING – After losing a close game to Moline on Saturday morning, Sterling needed to beat Hononegah to avoid an 0-fer as it wrapped up play in the Sterling Shootout.
It didn't happen.
The Indians got off to a fast start and were never seriously threatened in posting a 62-46 victory over the Golden Warriors at Musgrove Fieldhouse.
Sterling (6-8) connected on just 5 of 24 first-half field goal attempts against a sticky Hononegah defense, and the Indians built a 26-10 halftime advantage.
"They made shots in the first half and we didn't," said Sterling coach Julie Schroeder, whose team fell to Moline 52-46 to begin the day. "That was really the big difference."
Hononegah coach Randy Weibel agreed the key to the game was his team's ability to seize a lead, a luxury that allowed the Indians to dictate how the rest of the game would be played.
"They can hurt you in transition, and they can hurt you when they get a lead," Weibel said, "so were very fortunate to get up on them early and make them play catch-up."
The biggest lead for Hononegah (11-4) was 23 points, when Hannah Rehfeldt dropped in a 3-pointer to make it 44-21 late in the third quarter, before Sterling fought back a bit. The Golden Warriors, stuck on 23 points through three quarters, matched that total in the fourth quarter.
Priscilla Aponte scored all eight of her points in the final quarter, while Gabby Sandoval added five points in the frame. The offense clicked better down the stretch, and Schroeder is hoping to build on that as the Golden Warriors prepare for the Dixon tournament later this week.
"The biggest part is we can watch some film," Schroeder said, "and we can see that when we do the things we want to do offensively, we do really good things. We just have to find a way to do more of that."
"With this tournament, it gave us a lot of competition and showed us what we need to do," Sandoval said. "I think we're going to come out stronger the second half of the season."
Aponte's eight points paced Sterling, while Bailey Oetting had seven and Stephanie Kester added six.
Reserve guard Becca Skurski led Hononegah with 12 points, all on 3-pointers in the second half. The Indians canned 11 3s in the game.
Star of the game: Karley Kolberg, Hononegah, 10 points, 7 rebounds
Key performers: Becca Skurski, Hononegah, 12 points; Kaitlyn Bauer, Sterling, 7 rebounds, 5 points
Up next: Sterling vs. Pekin, 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Dixon tourney