The Russellville Indians girls basketball (10-6) team won its home tournament Jan. 30 after defeating the Iberia Rangers (11-6) 78-64 in the championship game.
On their path to the final, the Indians won their first round game Jan. 25, defeating Tuscumbia 64-49, and its second round game Jan. 28 after defeating Belle 66-38.
In the championship game, the Indians led 20-19 after the first quarter. Early in the second quarter, the Indians led 26-21. The Rangers tied the game at 26 with 5:30 left in the quarter. Later in the quarter, the game was tied at 28; a three-pointer by Allison Schrimpf gave the Indians a 31-28 lead with more than 4:00 left in the quarter. The game was tied at 31 and then at 32 before the Indians trailed 34-32 with around 3:00 left before halftime. The Indians trailed 38-32 with less than 2:00 to go in the quarter. The Indians tied the game at 38 after back-to-back three pointers by Cali Coombs and Schrimpf. With less than 40 seconds left before the break, the Indians tied the game at 40 and Schrimpf stole the ball and scored to give the Indians a 42-40 lead entering halftime.
In the third quarter, the game was tied at 42 early in the quarter. A basket by Reagan Jenkins gave the Indians a 44-42 lead with just more than 5:00 left in the quarter. The Indians then went on a 7-2 run to make it a 51-44 game with around 3:33 left in the quarter. The Indians led by eight points at 58-50 with less than 1:00 to go before the final quarter. At the end of the quarter, the Indians led 58-52.
Early in the fourth quarter, with the score 62-57, the Indians went on a 5-0 run after a three-pointer by Ella Volkart and a basket by Josie Stewart following a steal that made it a 67-57 game with less than 6:30 left in the game. The Rangers cut the lead in half at 67-62 with just more than 5:00 left in the game. Russellville answered by making two three-pointers to make it a 73-62 game with just less than 3:00 before the final buzzer. With just more than 1:30 left on the clock, the Indians led by 14 points twice, first at 76-62 and later at the final score of 78-64 with just more than a minute left in the game.
Indians head coach Brian Bishop said winning their home tournament was huge for the team.
“Last year, we got beat in overtime and this time we were working to take it over,” Bishop said. “That is what the girls did — we won by double digits in every game we played at the tournament.”
With the game being a high scoring affair, Bishop said going into the game the team’s plan was to try to speed up their opponent.
“Try to speed them up and get an up-tempo game because that suits us well,” Bishop said. “That is what happened and I think that was to our advantage.”
The team has some momentum following their experience at the tournament, Bishop said.
“Our last three games have been our best games of the year,” Bishop said. “I feel like we have been playing to our potential now and I think we are going to get even better.”
Schrimpf led the team with 27 points, followed by Camie Grayson with 16 points and Volkart with 15 points.
Schrimpf was named to the all-tournament team and was also named the tournament MVP. Grayson and Volkart were also named to the all-tournament team.
The Indians’ next game is at 6 p.m. Feb. 4 against South Callaway.