CARROLLTON — A rematch of the 2014 Carrollton Lady Hawk Invitational finals didn't go as well for the Civic Memorial Eagles on Saturday.
After defeating the Calhoun Warriors 63-30 in the '14 finals, the Eagles fell to the Warriors 54-44 in the championship match of the 2015 edition of the tournament on Saturday. The loss dropped CM to 19-6 on the season, while Calhoun improved to 24-2 with the win.
It was the first tournament crown for Calhoun in five tries. The Warriors were in the finals in '14, '12, '85 and '84 but finished runner-up every time.
“This was the third time in the last four years we've been in the championship game and we were 0-4 in championship games overall,” Calhoun head coach Aaron Baalman said. “It's a good tournament to get primed for the postseason. The girls did an excellent job and this is the type of game we need heading into the postseason. Anytime you can get a good quality team, especially a Jonathan Denney team right before the postseason it's a great thing.”
CM's Denney thought the effort was there by the Eagles, it just wasn't quite enough against a solid team like the Warriors. CM led 18-16 after the first quarter, but fell behind when Calhoun's Kassidy Klocke hit a 3-pointer to start the second frame and never led again.
“I think the key of the game was in the second quarter when we get (Emma) Baalman out with two fouls and we only scored three points,” Denney said. “We had all kinds of good looks. Some bunnies were missed, we missed a lot of wide open looks from the outside when they started sagging inside on (Katelyn) Turbyfill and (Allie) Troeckler. If you're going to beat a team like that you're going to have to make some shots because they're going to take your strengths away. I just don't think we took advantage in the second quarter. I felt like that was the time to go and instead of going into the locker room down six, I thought we should be the team going in up six or eight, but that's the way it goes sometimes. I thought our girls battled hard for four quarters. We took them to the brink.”
Calhoun may just be a Class 1A school, while the Eagles are a 3A program, but Denney is certain it's a game that helps prepare them for the postseason.
“I think if you asked both coaches we'd say we wish we could play each other a couple more times before we head to the playoffs,” Denney said. “This will prepare us. If you win it's a feather in the cap and if you don't win it hopefully you played well and got better for the postseason and I really believe that we played hard enough and competed hard enough to win the game.”
After falling behind 4-0 to start the game, CM went on a 7-0 spurt behind a 3-pointer from Katelyn Turbyfill and buckets from Kaitlyn Kappler and Allie Troeckler to go up 7-4. Calhoun led 8-7 and 10-9, but a traditional 3-point play by Turbyfill made it 12-10 with 4:04 to play in the first. The Eagles led 18-16 when the quarter closed.
Klocke knocked down the trey to start the second to put the Warriors up 19-18 and CM hit a rough patch. The Eagles only notched three points in the second quarter on a bucket and one free throw by Troeckler. They trailed 27-21 entering the break.
Troeckler's score at 5:31 of the second quarter was the last field goal by CM until Turbyfill hit a 3-pointer at the 6:41 mark of the third quarter. The Eagles outscored Calhoun 14-13 in the third to dwindle it to 40-35.
When Journey Coffman nailed a trey at the 7:11 mark of the fourth quarter, CM was as close as 42-40, but were put away with an 8-0 run by the Warriors. Klocke, who scored a game-high 20 points, netted the first six points of the run before Emma Baalman closed it out with a basket with 4:37 remaining to make it 50-40 and Calhoun never looked back.
Despite the championship loss, CM's Troeckler garnered MVP honors after scoring 85 points in four games. She scored 13 points to match Turbyfill for the team lead against the Warriors. Turbyfill fouled out late in the game.
“We could have picked things up,” Troeckler said of the Eagles' performance in the finals. “When we had the chance (in the second quarter) we kind of fell back and didn't get what we needed to get done.”
Troeckler was joined on the all-tournament team by teammates Turbyfill and Kayln Troxell. Even though she is the only CM player that played valuable minutes in last year's super-sectional run, Troeckler believes the Eagles are trending in the right direction and she's not surprised to see her team step up. There isn't a senior on the varsity roster.
“I'm not really surprised,” she said. “I don't think a lot of people expected us to do this good, but I've been playing with these girls since the fifth grade and I knew what we were capable of.”
Grace Baalman joined Klocke in double figures for the Warriors with 14 points against CM. Klocke, Grace Baalman and Emma Baalman all made the all-tournament team.
CARROLLTON HAWKS INVITATIONAL
CALHOUN 54, CM 44
CM 18 3 14 9 — 44
Calhoun 16 11 13 14 — 54
CM (19-6) — Kaitlyn Kappler 2, Journey Coffman 6, Allie Troeckler 13, Alaira Tyus 5, Katelyn Turbyfill 13, Kaylee Eaton 5. 2FG — 13 3FG — 5 FT — 3 PF — 7
CALHOUN (24-2) — Madison Lehr 6, Courtney Holland 2, Kassidy Klocke 20, Emma Baalman 8, Grace Baalman 14, Jordan Holland 2, Becca Oswald 2. 2FG — 21 3FG — 4 FT — 0 PF — 11