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Girls Basketball: Sandwich drops tough finale to Streator

Indians finish 0-4 at Ottawa Christmas Classic with 30-29 loss to Bulldogs

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016 5:30 a.m. CDT
(Steven Buyansky for Shaw Media)
Sandwich’s Ezbeydy Rivera (3) battles for a loose ball on the floor with Seneca’s Samantha Gunier (21) during the Tim Humes Breakout Girls Varsity Basketball Tournament at Somonauk High School on Nov. 18. Rivera scored nine points in the Indians’ loss to Streator on Dec. 23. Sandwich will return to action on Jan. 5 when it hosts Peotone.

The Sandwich girls basketball team closed out the Ottawa Christmas Classic with a tough loss to Streator to finish the four-game tournament without a win.

The Indians (4-10) faced the Bulldogs on the final day in Ottawa on Dec. 23 in a rematch with Streator after winning an overtime game on Nov. 28. Foul trouble and an injury challenged Sandwich down the stretch, and the Indians lost 30-29.

Starter Lixy Lopez left the game in the second quarter with a knee injury before Sarah Ness, Nicole Shipman and Maddie Robinson all fouled out of the game.

“Today was another tough loss for the Indians,” Sandwich coach Chris Johnson said. “Today’s focus was on doing what we did to beat Streator in OT the first time we played them. We did not do that.”

Sandwich was held to five points in the first quarter, but only trailed Streator 20-18 at halftime. The Bulldogs led 24-23 entering the fourth quarter and held on for the win. Ezbeydy Rivera and Robinson led Sandwich with nine points each.

“When we make runs – and we have every game – we need to put the pedal to the metal and make them pay. We need to learn to turn it up and keep the momentum in our favor,” Johnson said. “I know what our potential is; we need to focus on the little things and do them right first, and then the bigger things will fall into place.”

Sandwich returns to action on Jan. 5, hosting Peotone in Interstate Eight Conference play.

Newark 49, Sandwich 33: After an 0-2 finish in pool play, Sandwich faced Newark in bracket play on Dec. 22 and fell to the Norsemen despite trailing Newark by four points at intermission.

The Indians closed their deficit within two points against Newark, but could not overcome a slow start. Kayla Mueller led the defensive effort for Sandwich. Rivera had nine points and Sarah Ness knocked in seven.

“We need to stop having to dig ourselves out of holes,” Johnson said. “We need to just focus on the basics and do them right. We only shot 6-for-19 from the free throw line and we got three of Newark’s players into foul trouble with four fouls each. But we did not convert.  We have to go back to the beginning and do the simple things right first.”  

Morris 67, Sandwich 45: On Dec. 21, Sandwich continued pool play against the Redskins and tied a season-high offensive effort with 45 points including 15 free throws. The Indians trailed Morris by eight points at the end of the first quarter, but the Redskins held a 38-25 lead at intermission.

Ezbeydy Rivera led Sandwich with 13 points and Maddie Robinson added 10 points. Marisa Fuchs and Sarah Ness pulled down seven rebounds each.

“We started slow again and let them build a lead and then seesawed back and forth closing the gap and then letting them extend it throughout the game,” Johnson said. “We also still need to work on being consistent at both ends at the same time throughout the whole game.”

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