CHESTER -- The Chester High School Lady Jackets finished third at the 2018 Lady Jackets Mid-Winter Classic Basketball Tournament at Colbert Gym on Rocky Bridge's Court.
Last year, the Lady Jackets became the first Chester team in the 12-year history of the tournament to claim the title. This year the girls had their eyes on making it back-to-back championships, but the Marissa Lady Meteors had other ideas, beating the Jackets in a close, hard-fought game, 38-33, in the semifinals.
The loss shot the Meteors into the Championship game and sent Chester to the third place game.
Chester opened play Wednesday January 3 against Valmeyer. The Lady Jackets won that contest handily, 59-22, to put them in the winner's side of the bracket. The Lady Jackets had three girls in double figures in the win with Destiny Williams (18), Reese Chandler (17) and Josie Kattenbraker (10) leading the charge.
In the game the Jackets outrebounded the Lady Pirates 20-12. CHS dished out 18 assists led by Destiny Williams with six. Chester also had 18 steals led by Williams with eight. Playing great stingy defense the jackets recorded 30 deflections once again led by Williams with six. Taylor Dunning led the team in loose ball recoveries with three out of nine recoveries.
As a team the Lady Jackets shot 47 percent overall (27-of-57); 33 percent from the three-point range (3-of-9); and 50 percent from two point range (24-of-48). The jackets were perfect from the free throw line (2-for-2).
With the win, Chester improved to 6-9 overall and advanced to the semifinal round top play Marissa-Coulterville. In other first round action, New Athens advanced to the semifinals with a Bye and Elverado advanced by beating Trico, 51-29. In the lower bracket Marissa-Coulterville beat Sparta in a close, hard-fought game, 45-40 to advance.
Trico moved to the Consolation bracket with their loss and was automatically placed into the Consolation Championship game with a Bye in Round 2. The Sparta Lady Bulldogs, who were winless this season, defeated Valmeyer in Round 2 by a score of 56-18. The win moved the Bulldogs into the Consolation Championship game facing Trico. The double elimination format eliminated Valmeyer from the tournament.
New Athens beat Elverado, 36-18 to advance to the championship game. Elverado moved to the third place game. In the second semifinal game of the night the Marissa-Coulterville Lady Meteors beat Chester 38-33 to advance to the championship game to face New Athens.
In the Chester-Marissa game, both teams played tough defense. Reese Chandler's 6-0 run in the second period, coupled with a steal by Destiny Williams to begin the period helped to put the Lady Jackets ahead 21-15 at the half.
However, Marissa was able to shut down Chester's offense in the second half, battling back to tie the game at the end of the third period and sealing the victory with a 7-0 run late in the fourth. Chester's Kendall Williams gave the Jackets some hope after sinking a three-pointer with 28 seconds remaining, but the Lady Jackets couldn't overcome the deficit at the end, losing 38-33. Marissa advanced to the championship game against New Athens.
For the game, the Lady Jackets shot 14-of-55 from the field (25 percent). From the three-point range, CHS shot 3-of-16 (19 percent). From two point range, the Jackets shot 28 percent (11-of-28). Reese Chandler led the team in shooting percentage making 5-of-15 for 33 percent.
Chester had two players in double figures; Destiny Williams with 12 and Reese Chandler with 11. Other contributors included Kendall Williams (5), Josie Kattenbraker (3) and Taylor Dunning (2).
For the game Chester out-rebounded Marissa 36-23 led by Taylor Dunning with eight boards. Destiny Williams dished out five of Chester's nine assists and recorded all three of the team's steals. Dunning had eight of Chester's 17 deflections. The Lady Jackets recovered eight loose balls and took two charges and Taylor Dunning blocked two shots.
With the loss, the Lady Jackets fell to an overall record of 6-10, and the Lady Jackets advanced to Third Place game against Elverado.
In the consolation championship game between Trico and Sparta, Trico was the winner, 61-43 and the Lady Pioneers took home the trophy.
In the third place game between Chester and Elverado, Chester overcame an early deficit to win 49-41.
Kendall Williams, Josie Kattenbraker and Reese Chandler got Chester off to a good start in scoring, but the Falcons took advantage of early fouls to keep pace. Chester committed six fouls in the first period, sending Elverado to the line for free shots throughout. An 8-0 run late in the second gave Elverado a 25-21 lead at the half.
Three-pointers in the second half from Chandler and Audrey Hopper helped put Chester back in the lead Audrey Hopper. Destiny Williams also stepped up at the free throw line, making 7 of 8 free throws in the final minutes to lead Chester to a 49-41 victory and the Third Place trophy.
In the game, Destiny Williams led the Jackets in scoring with 21 points, three rebounds, five assists, two steals, four deflections, and a pair of blocked shots. Reese Chandler was also a key contributor with 13 points, eight rebounds, one assist, one deflection, one loose ball recovery, and one blocked shot.
Josie Kattenbraker and Kendall Williams each added six points apiece. Kattenbraker added two rebounds, one deflection to go with one turnover and Williams added one assist and one deflection. Audrey Hopper had a huge three to jump-start the Chester offense to begin the final quarter. Hopper recorded two rebounds and a deflection to her resume.
Senior Taylor Dunning, had a dynamite defensive game to contribute to the win with her four rebounds, one assist, three deflections, two loose ball recoveries as well as her team-high four "monster" blocked shots. The win was a true team effort.
As a team, the Lady Jackets shot 35 percent from the field (16-of-46). From the three-point arc, Chester shot 50 percent (6-of-12) and from two-point range CHS shot 29 percent (10-of-34). Very good free throw shooting saved the Jackets as CHS hit 12-of-19 free throws for 63 percent shooting. Destiny Williams made 11-of-15 (73 percent) to help secure the win down-the-stretch.
With the win, the Lady Jackets improved to an overall record of 7-10. In addition to the Third Place trophy, two players on the 2018 Lady Jacket Mid-Winter Classic All-Tournament Team, including Destiny Williams and Reese Chandler.
For the tournament, Williams, a sophomore, scored 51 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, dished out 16 assists, recorded 13 steals, had 8 deflections, recovered four loose balls and blocked two shots. Reese Chandler, a freshman, scored 41 points, grabbed 25 rebounds, dished out four assists, recorded five deflections, recovered three loose balls, and blocked two shots.
In the Championship game, Marissa-Coulterville upset the No. 1 Seed, New Athens, by a score of 26-22.
Following the game, CHS Athletic Director Jeremy Blechle presented the Runner-Up trophy to the New Athens Lady Yellow Jackets and the Championship Trophy to the Marissa-Coulterville Lady Meteors.
Blechle then announced the ten selections of the 2018 LJMWC "All-Tournament Team which included Tournament Most Valuable Player Danika White of New Athens; Destiny Williams of Chester; Tori Ehlers of Elverado; Allie Whittington of Elverado; Tinleigh Jakimauskas of Valmeyer; Amiya Henry of Sparta; Kenzie Kern of Marissa; Reese Chandler of Chester; Hailey Krause of Marissa; and Juhle Prange of Trico. Each member of the All-Tournament Team received a trophy for their achievements.