Explorers Top Belleville West: Marquette Catholic Girls Basketball Coach Lee Green Welcomes Talented Crew
ALTON - Coach Lee Green is excited about the upcoming Marquette Catholic girls basketball season with several talented seniors and others who return.
“We have a senior-oriented team," Green added. "We have seven seniors out of our 12 kids. Our goal is the win regionals – that is our number one goal every year. If that happens then we are going to take it one game at a time. But our focus is on winning regionals.”
Coach Green said he has a lot of confidence in this year's team.
"Out of the seven seniors, three of them have been starters since their freshmen year," he said. "Every year they have been here, they have played in a regional championship game, except last year because we did not have it.
“We have two other seniors who were first off the bench. So, four of our seven seniors have logged a ton of varsity minutes. Then, two of our other seniors are transfers from other schools whey they were starters since their sophomore year.
“The leadership is really good because of the playing time these girls have logged on varsity.”
Abbey Williams, Chloe White, Alyssa Powell, and Jillian Nelson were rated by the coach as probably the squad's top four players.
“The boys’ games are standing rooms only," Coach Green said. "Our girls’ games get good crowds, but I think this girls’ team is better than we have been in a while, and we’ll draw more fans season. If we can get that Blue Crew in here with us, that would be a good home-court advantage. They do a great job.”
Coach Green said Marquette Catholic has "a winning culture."
"All they want to do is win," he said. "They bring it every day in practice, and they give everything they have. It’s a good culture to have.”
MARQUETTE CATHOLIC 54, BELLEVILLE WEST 46: In the first of two games on the day in the O'Fallon Round Robin Tournament, Marquette held a 38-29 halftime lead on Belleville West and held on to win at the Panther Dome.
The Maroons held an 18-17 lead at the end of the first quarter, but the Explorers came back to take the 38-29 halftime advantage, then led 46-33 after three quarters before West outscored Marquette in the fourth quarter 13-8, with Marquette taking the win.
Jillian Nelson led the Explorers with 15 points, while both Alyssa Powell and Chloe White each scored 12 points, Nia Ballinger and Laura Hewitt both had five points apiece, Kamryn Fandrey and Haley Rodgers had two points each and Hayley Porter had a single point.
Keyara Baerga-Plumey led the Maroons with 10 points, while Jalynn Rook had nine points, Ja'Mya Company scored eight points, Maliah Sparks and Lamiya Terrell each had seven points, Amari Mason had three points and M'Riya Johnson scored two points.
Coach Green was very excited about the win over Belleville West, a much larger school the Marquette.
"We played in the championship game down in Columbia and lost to Waterloo and lost one of our best players in that game with a concussion, but today was great competition, and I am ecstatic to pull out a victory here," Coach Green said. "I told the girls in the locker room that they competed so hard. Laura Hewitt played post position and did an unbelievable job and Jillian Nelson had the best game of her high school career and played great defense. It was a team effort."
O'FALLON 67, MARQUETTE CATHOLIC 37: In the Explorers' second game, O'Fallon jumped out to a 23-7 first quarter lead and didn't look back in going on to the win over Marquette.
The Panthers led 23-7 after one quarter, 44-12 at halftime and 64-28 after three quarters, with the Explorers outscoring O'Fallon in the final quarter 11-3.
Ballinger and Powell led Marquette with six points each, while Olivia Kratschmer and Rodgers had five points each, Nelson scored four points, Megan Meyer, Porter and White had three points apiece and Fandrey scored two points.
The Panthers were led by Zsana Hawkins with 18 points, with Klaire Keel scoring 12, Malia Robertson had eight points, Laylah Jackson had seven points, Carolyn Foster came up with six points, Shannon Dowell had five points, Rhylea Johnson had three points and D'Myjah Bolds, Danielle Newman, Harmoni Tart and Ma'Chilah Vinson all had two points each.
The Panthers improved to 5-0, while the Explorers are now 3-2.
Marquette Girls Basketball Schedule: