BETHALTO – Last year's Civic Memorial girls basketball team found ways to close out games.

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This year's team has been puzzling to Eagle coach Jonathan Denney and not figured out how to finish games, he said, after the Eagles lost a pair of second-half leads and bowed 45-41 to Mississippi Valley Conference foe Triad Monday night at CM.

"Every one of our losses have been like this; we've had a lead late – double-digit leads in the other three before tonight," Denney said. "That's the unfortunate thing.

“Teams are shooting for us, teams aren't quitting and playing 32 minutes and we're playing for 27-28 minutes every game. Against teams like this, we'll lose until we figure it out. It's frustrating for the coaches because we feel like we've prepared them, we've put them in position to win and they're not finishing the deal as a team.”

The Eagles had a solid game plan ready for the Knights, thought Triad coach Josh Hunt. “Obviously, I thought Jon's game plan against us was pretty good,” Hunt said. “They were physical with us and I thought they did a real nice job in limiting what we do offensively. Usually we're a pretty darn good offensive ball club; we only scored 45 tonight, so that says a lot about him and his club.

“We just beat a really good team on their home court, which is huge.”

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Triad knew CM's Allie Troeckler was going to get her points. “Troeckler hurt us big-time early,” Hunt said. “She had seven (of her 17 points) early – five of them were on second-chance points – but we cleaned that up and that was a huge advantage to us.

“She's a handful obviously, and they've got some really good shooters to go around her, so that's a tough match-up to guard.”

CM opened the second half on a seven-point run that put them up on the Knights 27-20, triggered mostly by drives and baskets by Troeckler. Triad shook that off and went on a run themselves to tie the game back at 27-27 with 2:09 left in the third term; the two teams then traded scores, but the Eagles had a two-point lead until Hannah Johnson drove and scored at the siren to tie the game again at 31 at three-quarter time.

Undaunted, the Eagles took the lead back early in the final quarter on a three-pointer from Journey Coffman and a drive from Kaylee Eaton. The lead got to 40-35 with 4:07 left when Troeckler scored, but the Knights tied it at 40 on a three-point play from Abby Burroughs, then grabbed the lead for good when Sophie Thompson hit a pair of free throws with 1:21 to go; the Knights then hit from the line at key times to put the game away.

The Eagles (3-3 overall, 1-1 MVC), besides Troeckler's 17, were led by Coffman and Annika Ochs' seven points and Katelyn Turbyfill's five. The Knights (5-1 overall, 3-0 MVC) were led by Burroughs' 15 points, with Sam Woods adding 11 and Johnson nine.

CM travels to Breese Mater Dei for a Thursday night matchup, then to Taylorville for a Saturday afternoon clash before hosting Highland for a Dec. 17 league game.

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