ALTON – It was a battle between two good 1A schools Monday night as Marquette Catholic hosted Calhoun/Brussels. The Warriors improved to 17-4 on the season after a 56-38 win over the Explorers. Marquette remains above .500 at 12-9.
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Calhoun grabbed the first bucket of the contest, but it was quickly canceled out by one of Marquette’s four threes early on. They shot the ball well to kick off the game and owned a 13-12 lead after the first quarter.
Then, the Explorers got held to just two points in the second while Calhoun had six. It was enough to give the Warriors the lead at the half by a score of 18-15.
The game plan changed at the start of the second half for Calhoun, and it worked. They started going to the rim and using their height advantage to get some easy transition chances.
“Everything clicked in that third quarter,” Calhoun head coach Mark Hillen said. “There wasn’t much coaching to it. The girls were just playing phenomenal ball and I was just kind of letting them do their thing.”
Up stepped Kate Zipprich who led the Warriors with 28 points on the night, 24 of which came in the second half. She was followed by Audrey Gilman with 12. Haley Schmelten had four and Jaelyn Hill had three.
It helped the Warriors that Marquette landed in some heavy foul trouble. Olivia Kratschmer fouled out of the game and Haley Rodgers had to be subbed on and off with three fouls.
It also helped that the Explorers had 14 turnovers.
It was the Lewis and Clark commit Payton Patterson who was the only Explorer in double digits with 10 points. Rodgers and Allie Weiner each scored nine. Kratschmer and Kel’c Robinson each scored three.
After being up by three at the half, Calhoun only grew their lead until the end. They led 43-26 after the third, outscoring the Explorers 25-11 in that frame.
“We did a better job of breaking their pressure in the second half,” Hillen said. “It wasn’t so much as X’s and O’s; it was more of we recognized we could get up the floor and find the open person.”
This snaps Marquette’s three-game win streak.
“We had a great first half,” Explorers’ head coach Whitney Sykes-Rogers said. “We did a game plan but eventually size won out. When they have girls that are two heads taller than anybody we got, eventually it’s going to come to a head.”
“They made a good adjust and we didn’t adjust back.”
The Explorers have a tough week ahead of them as they wind down their regular season.
They’ll be on the road against Althoff tomorrow (Jan. 18) before hosting Roxana on Thursday. Then it will be Jersey on Saturday at Carrollton.
As for the Warriors, they’ll also play Wednesday when they get back into conference action against Greenfield/Northwestern.
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