March 4, 2015

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

INA - An inability to shut down the perimeter shooting game of the Olney Blue Knights Tuesday afternoon resulted in a 78-70 loss for the John A. Logan College women's basketball team.

The Volunteers' season thus comes to an end in the quarter-final round of the Region 24 tournament at Rend Lake College.

Olney advances to the semi-final round Thursday against top seed, Wabash Valley, an 87-67 winner over Rend Lake earlier in the day.

Logan, which finishes 13-15 overall, only led twice at 2-0 and 4-3 on baskets by Shelby Beussink and Haley Darnell. Otherwise, it was pretty much all Olney.

The 11-17 Knights received six 3-pointers from sophomore guard Shelby Samsil in the first half alone. The diminutive sharpshooter finished the game with a game-high 30 points, 17 coming in the first half. She had eight triples altogether.

Olney led at the half, 38-29.

Vols' sophomore center, Alison Webb, who was held to two points in the first half, got on track early and often in the second half, twice pulling Logan within four at 40-36 and 42-38.

But the Vols would get no closer.

Olney center Kelsey Pilant knocked down six field goals and 16 of her 25 points over the final 20 minutes to keep Logan at arm's length.

Webb's 24 points paced the Vols. Abbi Denton and Sarah Bailey followed with 12 each. Darnell tacked on 11. Beussink had nine, all in the first half, and Maddie Rigdon added two.

Vols head coach Marty Hawkins said Samsil inflicted great damage with a barrage of long-range baskets, including five of her first six attempts.

"We talked about this exact thing in the pre-game. For whatever reason, we couldn't find their three-point shooter. And then we went to a man-to-man defense in the second half, we fouled and they made their free throws."

Hawkins said he was proud of the fact that the Vols kept battling back.

"It was a good comeback," he said. "We just didn't shoot the ball as well as we had been (28-of-70) and we turned the ball over more than we had been (16). That's a problem we have had from the early part of the season."

Hawkins said the Vols showed good improvement over the course of the season, winning eight of their last 12 games after starting off 5-10.

"A lot of these freshmen got some valuable experience this year and will make them that much better players next year," Hawkins said.