Even though the Lift for Life girls basketball team has a new coach, the Hawks just keep right on rolling.
Under the tutelage of Greg Brown – who came over from McCluer South-Berkeley, Lift for Life (5-1) is off to another quick start.
The Hawks won the Winfield Tournament for the third straight season and their only loss was a two-point setback to Clark County on Dec. 19.
Junior forward Daniyah Ward says chemistry is the key to her team's success.
“It’s all about playing together and staying on the same page,” Ward said. “It’s like we have to keep the energy up and keep the flow going and when we do that, the end result has come out as planned.”
The energy level has been high, in part, due to a relentless effort on both ends of the floor that has seen three players average in double figures while the defense is surrendering just 25.3 points a game.
“We actually should have four players in double figures, but the fourth girl dropped to nine points a game,” Brown said. “I’m pretty proud of that stat because it’s a symbol of how good our defense helps our offense.”
Brown's job has been aided by the fact that the girls have been ready to play at a high level, right from the very start.
Lift for Life will take on Nashville at 5:30 p.m. on Monday in the opening round of the Mascoutah Tournament.
ERICKSON, HERMANN LOOKING STRONG
Quincy Erickson knows she doesn't have a lot of time left on a high school basketball court.
So the Hermann High senior guard is ready to do all she can to help the Bearcats succeed. The 6-foot-1 inch Erickson is averaging 19 points and 7.3 rebounds per contest.
“I think, as an individual player, I have played well,” Erickson said. “I also know this is my last year so I want to lay everything out on the court each game and try my hardest.”
The Bearcats are averaging 53.8 points per game. Their only loss was a five-point setback to South Callaway on Dec. 12.
“We have a lot of returning experience, but graduated five seniors who all were big contributors last year,” coach Andrew Emmons said. “It's been a work in progress and we have been figuring things out.”
Gracie Winkelmann is averaging 10.1 points, 5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.
“Gracie has been a big help to our team lately and I believe she has taken the role of our point guard very well,” Erickson said. “She is a captain and has been a real asset to our team thus far. I think our team has the ability to go far and we have to take it one game at a time.”
HOLIDAY HOOPS ABOUND FOR LOCAL TEAMS
There are 17 holiday tournaments and shootouts involving area teams in the coming days:
The 45th Visitation Christmas Tournament (Dec. 21-28)
Teams: Incarnate Word (top seed), Edwardsville, Parkway Central, Kirkwood, Whitfield, Parkway North, Westminster, Hazelwood Central, Francis Howell, Webster Groves, Parkway South, John Burroughs, Visitation, Nerinx Hall, Metro and Cor Jesu.
Championship game: 8 p.m., Dec. 28.
Liberty Holiday Classic (Dec. 21, 23, 27)
Teams: Trinity, Rosati-Kain, Liberty and Northwest-Cedar Hill
Format: It's a four-team, round-robin with games at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. each day.
Mascoutah Invitational (Dec. 23-28)
Teams: O'Fallon (top seed), Freeburg, Belleville West, Mater Dei, Highland, Breese Central, Belleville West, Mascoutah, East St. Louis, Lift for Life, Centralia, Riverview, Cahokia, Okawville, Belleville East and Althoff.
Championship game: 4:30 p.m. Dec. 28.
Public High League holiday tournament (Dec. 23-20)
Teams: Medicine and Bioscience, Cleveland, Sumner, Soldan, Confluence, Carnahan, Gateway STEM, McKinley.
Championship game: 3 p.m. Dec. 30 at Vashon.
64th annual Bob Secrist Tournament at Park Hills Central (Dec. 26-21)
Teams: Festus, Arcadia Valley, Fredricktown, Potosi, Park Hills Central (top seed), Steeleville, South Iron, Ste. Genevieve.
Championship game: 6 p.m. Dec. 31.
Bloomington Holiday Classic (at various sites Dec. 26-30)
Teams: Morton, Geneso, Normal Community, Springfield, Wheaton, Rock Island, Canton, Normal Community West, Bloomington, Chicago St. Ignatius, Kankakee, Lincoln Way-West, Marist, Kenwood, Peoria Richwoods and Civic Memorial.
Championship game: 7 p.m. Dec. 30 at Illinois Wesleyan University.
Carlinville Holiday Tournament (Dec. 26-30)
Teams: Litchfield, Staunton, Carlinville, Nokomis, Bunker Hill, Greenfield, South County and Gillespie.
Championship: 6 p.m. Dec. 30.
Lebanon Christmas Tournament (Dec. 26-30)
Teams: Father McGivney (top seed), Gibault, New Athens, Sparta, Christ Our Rock, Dupo, Columbia, Steeleville, Greenville, Gateway Legacy, Red Bud, Carlyle, Chester, Red Bud, Marissa, Greenville (junior varsity).
Championship game: 8 p.m. Dec. 30.
MICDS Holiday Tournament (Dec. 26-30)
Teams: Ladue (top seed), St. Charles, Pattonville, Collinsville, MICDS, Lafayette, Fort Zumwalt North and Zumwalt West.
Championship game: 6:30 p.m. Dec. 30.
Rolla Holiday Tournament (Dec. 26-28)
Teams: Rolla (top seed) Northwest Academy, Warrensburg, Piasa Southwestern, KC Center, Licking, Sedalia and Lutheran North.
Championship game: 6 p.m. Dec. 28.
Summit Tournament (Dec. 26-28)
Teams: Francis Howell North, Liberty (KC) (top seed), Pacific, Lindbergh, University, Summit, Parkway West and Farmington.
Championship game: 5:30 p.m. Dec. 28
Valley Park round-robin (Dec. 26-28)
Teams: DuBourg, Orchard Farm, St. Pius X and Valley Park.
Format: Games will be played at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. each day.
26th annual St. Dominic Christmas Tournament (Dec. 27-30)
Teams: St. Dominic, Francis Howell Central, St. Charles West, Zumwalt South, Timberland, Holt, Sikeston and Lutheran St. Charles.
Championship game: 4:30 p.m. Dec. 30.
Duchesne Holiday Invitational (Dec. 27-30)
Teams: McCluer, Duchesne, Granite City, Notre Dame, Hazelwood East, Mehlville and Ursuline.
Championship game: 1:30 p.m. Dec. 30.
Helias Holiday Classic (Dec. 27-29)
Teams: Jefferson City (top seed), Hickman, Eureka, Deer Creek (Okla.), Blair Oaks, Blue Springs South, St. Joseph's Benton and Helias.
Championship game: 5:30 p.m. Dec. 29.
Jersey Holiday Tournament (Dec. 27-30)
Teams: Alton Marquette (top seed), Carrollton, Triad, Hardin-Calhoun, McCluer North, Jerseyville, Alton and Taylorville.
Championship game: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 30.
Moberly Holiday Shootout (Dec. 27-28 at Moberly Area Community College)
Warrenton plays Moberly at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 28.
• The opening night of the Fort Zumwalt North Tournament was a big one for Zumwalt East senior post player Liz Behan. In the Lions' 42-36 win over Pattonville, Behan scored nine points to push her over 1,000 points for her career.
• Summit senior forward Jasmine Manuel had a memorable day in the Falcons' 52-50 loss to Marquette. She pulled down 17 rebounds to push her past the 1,000 career rebound mark. She has passed the 1,000-point plateau as well.
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