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Kramer, Innes help Mater Dei to fifth successive regional championship

Kramer, Innes help Mater Dei to fifth successive regional championship

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Alton Marquette vs Mater Dei

Mater Dei player Lainey Kramer (left) brings the ball downcourt as Alton Marquette layer Adrenna Snipes defends. Alton Marquette played Mater Dei in a Class 2A girls regional basketball final at Gillespie High School in Gillespie, IL on Thursday February 13, 2020. Tim Vizer/Special to STLhighschoolsports.com

GILLESPIE — Lainey Kramer knows she doesn't deserve a whole lot of attention at the offensive end of the basketball court.

The Mater Dei senior is more of a defensive wizard.

"If I were the other team, I wouldn't guard me either," Kramer said.

Box: Mater Dei 49, Alton Marquette 33

The Alton Marquette Explorers employed that strategy Thursday.

It didn't work.

Mater Dei used a quick start from Kramer to knock off Marquette 49-33 in the championship game of the Class 2A Gillespie Regional in Macoupin County.

The Knights (20-8) claimed their fifth successive regional title and the 20th in school history. They advanced to the Greenville Sectional, where they play at 6 p.m. Monday against Carlinville (26-2) or Pittsfield.

Kramer, a 5-foot-2 sparkplug, came into the game averaging 2.4 points, the lowest of any starter.

But she kick-started Mater Dei's attack with a 3-pointer just 64 seconds into the contest and added a short jumper less than two minutes later to help her team out to a 7-1 lead.

"Right off the bat, she hits a trey, they're leaving her wide open," said Mater Dei coach Dave Kohnen, who captured his 14th regional crown. "When we've got seniors (like her), that's what's going to happen."

Kramer added a nifty assist on a basket by Claire Tonnies and also recorded a steal — all in the opening 4:29.

Her early energy set the tone for a solid all-around effort.

"I knew I had to set up, especially on offense because they were leaving me wide open — which is smart," said Kramer, who finished with seven points. "I hit one early and it kind of got me going."

Kramer turned her attention to the defensive end in the second half, hounding Marquette sophomore standout Adrenna Snipes from one end of the court to the another.

Snipes finished with a game-high 18 points but only had seven over the first 20:06 when the contest was all but decided.

"She's just so tough," Mater Dei senior Shannon Lampe said of Kramer. "She could get run over by a bus and she'd bounce right back up."

Daily performances

Kramer wasn't the only non-scorer to break loose Thursday. Knights senior Meredith Innes tallied a season-high 13 points.

"I just seemed to knock them down more tonight," Innes said. "I had more opportunities."

The Knights' top guns, Lampe and Tonnies, were forced to the background most of the night, while Kramer and Innes took their rare turns in the spotlight.

"That shows the kind of team we have," Lampe said. "We know we're not all going to be hitting every night. Sometimes, someone else has to get it done — like tonight."

Lampe and Madi Strieker hit big baskets in the second half to hold off the Explorers (24-7), who got to within six points on a 3-pointer by Kamryn Fandrey midway through the third quarter.

Mater Dei, which is in the middle of its 18th successive winning season, promptly regained control on 3-pointers by Strieker and Lampe. Kramer added a basket and Innes chipped in with a pair of foul shots to push the lead to 31-22.

"The first half we weren't making shots," Kramer said. "But, the second half, we really cleaned it up."

Mater Dei beat Marquette 53-31 in the lone regular-season meeting Dec. 2.

But the Explorers stayed within striking distance until late in the third period in the rematch.

"We had a great game plan, the girls executed it," Marquette coach Lee Green said. "The girls just stopped making shots."

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