DIXON – With Sterling coach Taylor Jackson on the bench and three of her former players out on the court during the Sauk Valley Media All-Star Classic on Thursday evening, the Gazette team played the same pressure defense the Golden Warriors displayed this past season.
The Gazette used steals to get easy buckets in transition, and closed well offensively to beat the Telegraph 46-41.
Former Sterling standout Josi Borum was back to her stat-stuffing ways, recording 11 points, eight rebounds and two steals en route to MVP honors for the Gazette.
“We played that style of defense all season, so a good majority of us were used to it,” Borum said. “It worked for us at Sterling, and it worked for us tonight. That’s what we wanted in the second half.”
The Telegraph tied the game at 30 with 5:49 left after a fast-break layup by former Newman forward Jenna Johnson. Jenna Saad responded with a 3 from the left wing for the Gazette.
The Telegraph took its last lead up 34-33 with 4 minutes left, as Alyscia Settles found former AFC teammate Jaynee Prestegaard for a fadeaway jumper.
Prestegaard, who dealt with double teams for most of her career with the Raiders, also dealt with multiple defenders throughout Thursday’s game. She still finished with game highs in points (16), rebounds (15) and blocks (4).
“It was different with us mixed together, but it was still really fun,”
Prestegaard said. “I got double-teamed, but it’s nothing I’m not used to. It was still a really cool experience.”
Borum canned a 3 on the next possession, giving the Gazette the lead for good.
Borum then found former Sterling teammate Gretchen Gould for a layup with 1:45 remaining, then stole the ensuing inbounds pass and made a layup of her own through contact.
Rylee Leitzen made three of her four 3-pointers in the second half for the Gazette. The former Fulton guard kept her shot sharp by practicing with many of her former Steamer teammates during the summer.
“It felt good to be out here playing again,” Leitzen said. “My teammates found me open, and I was able to knock down those open shots.”
Both teams started out slow shooting the ball. The Gazette missed its first 11 shots, while the Telegraph missed seven straight shots after Prestegaard hit a turnaround jumper to open the contest. Johnson made a layup, and former Bureau Valley star Saige Barnett split a pair of free throws to tie it at seven after the first quarter.
Madison Craft drilled a 3 from the top of the key to give the Telegraph a 16-14 lead with 46 seconds left in the half. Borum split a pair of free throws to make it 16-15 at intermission.
Barnett scored five of her eight points in the third quarter for the Telegraph, shaking off a pair of missed layups in the first half.
“I got all of the bad vibes out during halftime,” Barnett said. “I just came to have fun. I didn’t care how many points I scored.”
Leitzen drilled a 3 from the right wing to tie it at 25 with 2:55 left in the third, and Borum made a layup a minute later to give the Gazette the lead.
Gould’s putback made it 30-25, but Craft stole an inbounds pass and banked in a 3 at the buzzer to cut it to 30-28 after three.
Craft finished with nine points, three rebounds, two steals and a pair of blocks. Johnson added four points, while their former Newman teammates Savannah Skinner and Chloe Klein each grabbed seven rebounds. Amboy’s Bree Fisher and Noelle Jones each had two points, Settles dished out a game-high four assists, and Polo’s Lizzy Stamm added a rebound for the Telegraph.
Saad represented Erie-Prophetstown with eight points for the Gazette. Gould added six points, while former Sterling teammate Genea Garza dished out a team-high three assists.
Rock Falls’ Molly Buck stuffed the stat sheet with five points, eight rebounds and two assists. Kenzie Olson pulled down six rebounds and swiped a game-high three steals, while former Rockets teammate Miranda Hewitt pitched in two points and two boards. Morrison’s Claire Coons finished with two points, two rebounds and two steals. Former Filly Peyton Tegeler added four boards and two assists.
Sauk Valley Media All-Star Classic
Gazette 46, Telegraph 41
Star of the game: Josi Borum, Gazette, 11 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals
Key performers: Jaynee Prestegaard, Telegraph, 16 points, 15 rebounds, 4 blocks; Madison Craft, Telegraph, 9 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks; Saige Barnett, Telegraph, 8 points, 4 rebounds; Rylee Leitzen, Gazette, 12 points, 4 3-pointers, 4 rebounds, 2 steals; Jenna Saad, Gazette, 8 points