LET'S HEAR IT FOR THE GIRLS 1-27-09

Tom Batters
Lauren Keegan

All season, I have raved about Dunlap’s two terrific post players, Jenni Erlandson and Anna Kreuser, who are among the best in the Mid-Illini Conference.

In doing that, however, I may have overlooked the fact that Dunlap also has a pretty good point guard in senior Lauren Keegan.

When I watch Dunlap play, my eye is usually drawn toward Kreuser and Erlandson because I enjoy watching them battle in the paint to get open for good shots down low. They are both tough, agile players who can create a lot of problems for opposing defenses, especially if those defenses are not used to going against two big players.

However, watching Dunlap would not be nearly as fun if Keegan was not there to keep everything running smoothly.

She is, after all, the one who gets the ball to Kreuser and Erlandson. She is a “cool customer” who doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. Even under the tightest pressure, you will rarely see her turn the ball over.

I was glad to see that Keegan rung up a team-high 17 points during a huge road win against Metamora Friday night. Eleven of those points came from the free throw line, which means Keegan drove to the basket frequently and got fouled a lot on the process.

One word comes to mind when I think about Keegan starting to drive to the basket: “Dangerous.”

Dunlap will be a dangerous team in the postseason if Keegan can create her own scoring opportunities and distribute the ball down low to Kreuser and Erlandson, too. Keegan scored 10 points in a 63-38 win at IVC Saturday. She was 4-for-4 from the free throw line.

Dunlap is now 16-4 overall and 5-3 in the Mid-Illini Conference. The Lady Eagles beat some of the best teams in the conference (Limestone, Canton, Metamora).

The Lady Eagles face a big test Friday when they host conference-leader Morton and All-State player Brooke Bisping. Dunlap gave Morton a good game earlier in the season before losing, 65-57, at Morton.

STREAK SNAPPED

Richwoods lost at home to Springfield, 54-50, ending the Lady Knights’ 17-game winning streak.

Maddie Nieukirk continued her red-hot second half of the season with a game-high 21 points.

See next week’s Peoria Times-Observer for an in-depth conversation with Nieukirk, who is averaging 15 points per game over the past few weeks.

See tomorrow’s posting of LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE GIRLS for  complete coverage of tonight’s key Mid-State 6 Conference game between first-plave Richwoods and second-place Notre Dame.