STERLING – Erie finished its girls basketball season much the way it began it – with a lopsided loss to Newman.
The Comets got out to a big early lead and cruised home with a 53-37 victory against the Cardinals on Tuesday night in a Class 1A Newman Regional quarterfinal. Newman (11-15) will take on Eastland tonight in a tournament semifinal.
Erie (13-15) didn’t have much success this season on the Comets’ floor. The Cards began the 2017-18 campaign with a 61-31 loss to Newman in the Sauk Valley Shootout back on Nov. 13.
The margin this time around wasn’t quite so large, but the outcome was not in doubt after the Comets raced out to a 19-4 lead in the first 6½ minutes of play.
“Everything was working for us,” Newman coach Joe Salvatori said. “Our defense was coming up with some steals. We were working our offense really good. We got a nice a lead there.”
Erie did claw its way back to within 19-13 after Riley Redell began the second quarter by hitting a 3-pointer, but Newman responded with a 13-0 run over the next 6 minutes, capped by two free throws from Madison Craft to up the Comets’ lead to 32-13.
The Cardinals committed 14 first-half turnovers, and 26 for the game. Newman had 17 steals, with Lauren Wilson leading the way with eight.
“We talked about how scrappy they were and how handsy they were,” Erie coach Julie Schroeder said. “They touched a lot of balls. Unfortunately, we didn’t come out and do the little things we had to do to not lead them to be successful.”
“We just tried to slow ‘em down, get our hands in the passing lanes, and put as much pressure on ‘em as we could,” Craft said.
Newman led by as many as 23 points (38-15) with 4:30 left in the third quarter before Erie began to find its groove a bit. The Cardinals got to within 12 points (45-33) after the last of Redell’s three 3-pointers with 1:51 to go, but the Comets quickly restored order.
Savannah Skinner, Alejandra Padilla and Lauren Wilson each dropped in a pair of free throws over the next minute, and Padilla converted a layup to keep Erie a safe distance away.
Whitney Bramm led Erie with 13 points, while Redell added 11. Skylar Steimle grabbed a team-high nine rebounds and nabbed four of her team’s seven steals.
Skinner paced a balanced Newman attack with 14 points, Craft had nine, and Lauren Wilson had eight points, eight steals and four rebounds.
The Comets now get a shot at the regional’s top seed, Eastland, tonight. The Cougars beat Newman 61-47 back on Jan. 13.
“We’re excited,” Craft said. “We just have to go in confident and know that we can get the job done.”
1A Newman Regional quarterfinal
Newman 53, Erie 37
Star of the game: Savannah Skinner (N), 14 points
Key performers: Whitney Bramm (E), 13 points, 5 rebounds; Lauren Wilson (N), 8 points, 8 steals, 4 rebounds
Up next: Newman vs. Eastland, 6 p.m. tonight