March 2, 2016

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – Freshman Tiaunna Watkins exploded for a season-high 35 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the John A. Logan College women’s basketball team to a come-from-behind 82-77 win over Rend Lake in quarterfinal round play of the District 16 Tournament.

Watkins finished the game converting 12-of-22 shots from the field, including 3-of-7 shots from beyond the arc, and added eight free throws in 10 attempts.

“I’m not going to lie. I’m exhausted,” Watkins said. “I just tried to do what I could to help the team. I knew that I had to attack the basket.”

As special as Watkins was on the night, freshman teammate Ariel Crump was amazing in her own right. The diminutive point guard sliced and diced the Warriors to the rune of 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. It is her third consecutive double-double. Crump broke down the Rend Lake defense with driving lay-up baskets after the Vols fell behind by five late at 69-64.

Not to be overlooked was the play of sophomore reserve guard Haley Darnell. The Goreville product tallied 12 points and made a key assist to Kaili Bacon that pretty much sealed the win.

Speaking of Bacon, the freshman from Carbondale notched eight points on 4-of-9 shooting from the field. Sophomore McKena Miller of Carbondale, who fouled out of the game late, also popped for eight points. Gabby Sanders added two points.

The Warriors were led offensively by Jada Ballew’s 21 points. Dana Rubenacker added 16.

“It wasn’t easy tonight, but then again, nothing is supposed to be easy in the postseason,” said JALC first-year head coach Amanda Shelby. “Rend Lake is a quality team. We were fortunate enough to win in the end. There’s no guarantee for tomorrow. If you don’t leave it all out on the court tonight, there may not be a tomorrow. Rend Lake played with that same attitude. That’s what postseason basketball is all about.”

As a team, the Vols knocked down 30-of-62 shots or 48 percent and 18-of-22 free tosses (82 percent). Their marksmanship from long range was off, making good on only 4-of-19 tries (21 percent).

Rend Lake converted 24-of-60 shots from the field (40 percent); 5-of-22 triples (23 percent); and 24-of-31 free throws (77 percent).

Logan outrebounded the Warriors 36-to-23. The Vols also turned the ball over 20 times.

The third-seeded Vols improve to 24-5 with the victory and will take on No. 2 seed Vincennes in the semifinal round of the District Tourney at 2 p.m. Thursday at Rend Lake.