STERLING – Hannah Hake shimmied into the paint, faked a shot, and hit a 10-foot turnaround jumper to open the third quarter of the 31st Sauk Valley Media All-Star Classic Thursday night.
The Eastland graduate had six points in the first half, but dominated both ends of the floor in the second half, collecting points at a rapid pace and grabbing rebounds just as quickly to lead the Telegraph squad to a 48-25 win over the Gazette team.
The game was played in a steamy Musgrove Fieldhouse at Sterling High School, but the humidity and sticky feel to the air didn't slow No. 24 down.
"I wasn't tired at all," Hake said while standing in the bleachers following the game. "It was hot, and the heat was crazy, but I just didn't get tired out there."
Hake scored 12 second-half points as her shots buzzed the twine on the way through the hoop. She was the game's Most Valuable Player, finishing with a double-double, buoyed by a game-high in points (18) and rebounds (13). She also added an assist in the fourth quarter.
"We were a little worried about their size coming in," Hake said of the Gazette squad. "Kiarra [Harris] especially. They're all big and strong."
Harris, a 5-foot, 10-inch forward, surprised Hake by finishing with two points.
Hake took advantage of some extra room and quickly found her rhythm in a fast-paced first quarter. She scored four quick points on a right-handed layup, and hit both free throws on the next possession after being fouled.
Mary Alice Oswalt, a Newman graduate who will play basketball and tennis next season at Sauk Valley Community College, led the first-quarter scoring with six points for the Telegraph squad. She finished with eight points and 11 rebounds.
Hake was the only player on either the Gazette or Telegraph teams to score in double figures. She was deadly from mid-range, and used that slick turnaround jumper in the paint to compliment her shots from the elbow.
"I just kind of got into a zone there," Hake said. "I didn't even realize I was up there in points."
The Telegraph cruised offensively, scoring at least 10 points in each quarter, and worked hard defensively to limit easy shots. The Gazette, led by Sterling's Kaitlyn Bauer who finished with nine points, struggled offensively and scored its most points in a quarter – 10 – in the third.
They were also limited to two points, a Taylor Grenoble layup, in the the second quarter. The Gazette finished 8-for-38 shooting, including a 1-for-14 mark in the second.
"It was competitive at the start," Bauer said. "But you could tell we all kind of had our summer legs.
"We got pretty tired quickly, but we all came into the game thinking that it was just all about having fun."
The game also provided a reunion for two old friends. Dixon's Brooke Bailey and Oswalt were able to play together on the same team for the first time since the two were in middle school at St. Mary's in Dixon.
"It was super cool to play with her and really nice to reunite," Bailey said.
She said the two haven't talked as much as either would like since attending different high schools, but enjoyed the time the two had together on the court.
"We got to talk and catch up," Bailey said. "This was fun. I think every senior should play in this game."
Star of the game: Hannah Hake, Telegraph, 18 points, 13 rebounds, 1 assist
Key performers: Kaitlyn Bauer, Gazette, 9 points,7 rebounds; Mary Alice Oswalt, Telegraph, 8 points, 11 rebounds