Lady Eagles soar to fast start

Tom Batters
Jenni Erlandson, a senior forward, has helped lead Dunlap to a 5-0 start.

The Dunlap girls basketball team, which won the Chatham Tournament last weekend, is off to a 5-0 start, thanks to its balanced offense, tough defense and that one superstar player (senior forward Jenni Erlandson) that great teams always seem to have.

Naysayers will say that it’s early and the soaring Lady Eagles will fall back to earth soon.

But, I believe they will continue to fly high, even once the challenging Mid-Illini Conference schedule starts Friday.

Sure, Dunlap will hit some preverbal “bumps in the road” that most teams hit during the season, but I expect the Lady Eagles to compete for a shot at the conference title come February.

Dunlap has great guard play. Senior point guard Lauren Keegan can handle the ball and run the offense. She is a steady, consistent scorer (11 points and 10 points in the two final games of the Chatham Tournament).

The Lady Eagles’ inside game is just as effective. Senior forward Anna Kreuser is a tough, physical player who can score in the paint and grab rebounds. Senior Ally Redington is only 5’7”, but she is also physical and can cause match up problems inside.

And then there is Erlandson, a 6’0” senior who can post-up against any team’s best forward or step outside and hit three-pointers. She has a smooth outside shot and handles the ball very well for a tall player.

The Lady Eagles start five seniors and they have a lot of experience coming off the bench.

They are more confident playing under second-year coach Joe Wenskus, who preaches tough defense and fast offense.

Look out for the Lady Eagles. They are here to stay.

Richwoods rematch

Richwoods lost to state-ranked Freeport, 49-45, in the Galesburg Tournament Saturday. It was a rematch of last year’s Super-Sectional.

The memory of that game, which the Lady Knights lost in the final seconds, just doesn’t seem to go away.

On Saturday, the Lady Knights could not overcome a disastrous second quarter (they were outscored, 17-8). They came back strong in the second half, but fell short. Junior forward Katie Murphy had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Richwoods. Earlier in the tournament, Richwoods beat Galesburg, 43-30. Sophomore guard Mariah Smith had 18 points.

Knights at 3-1

The Richwoods boys basketball team led by five at halftime, but lost, 57-44, to state-ranked Rock Island Saturday in the Rock Island Tournament.

It was a strong tournament for the Knights, who beat Chicago Julian and Aurora West. Junior guard Tylon Deal scored 17 points against Aurora West and 15 against Julian. Richwoods plays at East Peoria Friday before heading to the Chicago Shootout over the weekend.

Irish win big

The Peoria Notre Dame boys basketball team beat Linn (Mo.), 80-44, Saturday at the Tournament of Champions in Washington. Sophomore Max Bielfeldt had 18 points and seven rebounds. Senior guard Charlie Bryant had 15 points, and junior guard Tyler Les added 12 points.

On Friday, the Irish beat Canton, 59-45, to take second in the Canton Thanksgiving Tournament. Bielfeldt and Les were named to the all-tournament team.

ND girls take third

The Peoria Notre Dame girls basketball team had a strong weekend, finishing third in the Mt. Zion Tournament.

ND beat Decatur Eisenhower, Decatur MacArthur and Mt. Zion. Junior forward Sarah Medland led ND with 10 points in a 52-41 win over Mt. Zion Saturday.

Dunlap boys 0-3

Junior guard Cameron Smith hit two three-pointers, had a steal on defense, and scored eight points in seven minutes to lead a second half rally, but it wasn’t enough as Dunlap lost to Morton, 48-34, in the Dunlap Thanksgiving Tournament Saturday.

The Eagles also lost to Glenwood and Galesburg in the tournament.