Courtney Kernich readies for a pass as Lila Snider keeps a strong defense.

ALTON - Although they feel like they are just getting into their groove as a team, the Marquette Catholic High School girls basketball team are proud of the progress they have made this season heading into its final weeks.

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In their second-to-last home game of the season, the Explorers were unfortunately defeated by the Mount Olive High School Wildcats 53-39 at the final buzzer.

“They’re a really good team,” Marquette coach Megan Hanlon said after the game. “They’re quick and extremely aggressive. They beat us last year by 37 points and this year they got us by 14. I told the girls that yeah, we lost, but we played our hearts out and we played strong until the end and never gave up. That’s all we could ask for.”

Savannah Bruhn shoots the basket as Lauren Fisher blocks for Marquette.Mount Olive Coach Dave Kernich said that his team’s victory was courtesy of the tough defense they played all evening and was proud to earn first place in this Prairie State Conference Championship game.

“This is a big game for us,” he said, regarding that this is the first conference championship win for the Wildcats since the program’s inception in 1987. “This is our first one and we’re really happy.”

Although the game earned the their first conference championship win, it didn’t phase the girls before or even after the game.

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“They’ll appreciate it more as they get older,” Coach Kernich said. “That banner has been up on that wall blank for a long time and we’re pleased to get that ‘16 up there.”

Senior Brittany Pace lead Marquette with 12 points for the night. Her classmate Caitlyn Hanlon locked down four baskets and two successful free throws to bring in 10 points. Senior Andria Pace swooshed in three baskets and two free throws for eight points. Sophomore Lila Snider came off the bench in the third quarter to lock down four points for the ladies in blue and white. Senior Elena Gable pushed to further the Explorers’ score in the fourth quarter with a three-pointer. Sophomore Taylor Aguirre brought in a basket in the second period.

For the Wildcats, junior Jill Niehaus knocked in nine baskets for 18 points. Following Niehaus was her classmate Brianna Henke with 17 points earned from seven baskets and three successful free throws. Freshman Savannah Bruhn and junior Zoe Murphy both brought in eight points. Junior Caitlyn Fields scored two points in the first period.

The Marquette Catholic High School girls basketball team will honor the Pace sisters, Gable, Hanlon as well as Allison Hoefert and Emily Holden next Tuesday during their Senior Night celebration. The team will face the Metro East Lutheran Knights at their last home game of the season.

 

Caitlyn Hanlon makes a move passed Caitlyn Fields.

 

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