CARLYLE — The Marquette Catholic Explorers saw their season come to an end Monday at the Class 2A Carlyle Regional.
The Explorers shaved a 15-point deficit midway through the second quarter down to three points in the fourth quarter, but it wasn't enough as they fell 54-43 to the host Indians, ending their season.
Marquette finishes its season 7-20, while Carlyle stays alive with a 5-21 record. The Indians advance to play top-seeded Breese Central at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
“We missed some shots, missed some easy rebounds and didn't hold onto the ball,” said first-year Marquette head coach Meagan Hanlon. “That's kind of been our Achilles' Heel all year.”
After jumping out to a 7-2 lead behind a bucket and a trey from Amber Robinson and a basket by Brittany Pace, the Explorers watched as Carlyle turned up the tempo.
The Indians strung together an 11-0 run to race ahead 13-7 and when the first quarter closed they were leading 16-9.
“They were beating us down the court quite a bit and then in the second quarter we kind of put a stop to that,” Hanlon said. “We came back a little bit and they didn't really run the ball that much after that first four minutes or so.”
Carlyle head coach Janelle Pfeiffer said she wanted to speed up the game because the Indians gave up a lot of size to the Explorers.
“We wanted to control the boards and we definitely wanted to push the tempo,” Pfeiffer said. “We were almost mismatched at every position was far as height goes. We wanted to pressure the guards when we could and I thought there for awhile in the first half our up pace tempo really hurt them, they were tired.”
Carlyle led by as much as 29-14 with 1:36 to play in the first half. Buckets from Robinson and Claire Snider dwindled the deficit to 29-18 at the break.
The Explorers' 6-foot-1 sophomore twins Brittany and Andria Pace combined for only two points in the first half on a score by Brittany.
Marquette improved its play in the third quarter. Andria Pace had nine of her team-high 11 points in the third quarter, including a traditional 3-point play at the 1:31 mark to cut it to 37-31. A trey by Hannah Hoffman of the Indians elevated it to 40-31 after three quarters.
“They were struggling a little bit (first half),” Hanlon said of the Pace sisters. “Brittany was struggling a little bit on her shots, but they came back in the second half and played well under the basket. We made some passes into them and they made some great shots under the basket.”
The Explorers started the fourth quarter with a 6-0 run, cutting it to 40-37. Caitlyn Hanlon had a pair of scores sandwiched around an Andria Pace basket and it looked as if Marquette was mounting a noteworthy comeback. Unfortunately, the Indians responded with seven straight points to extend the lead to 47-37 with 3:38 to play.
“We made an adjustment and went back to the zone and we told them, 'If they're going to beat us, they're going to beat us from the outside tonight,'” Pfeiffer said.
Hoffman proved to be a load and led all scorers with 22 points, helping steer Carlyle to the victory.
“Hannah from day one was a sophomore without much varsity experience,” Pfeiffer said. “We've had a lot of weight put on her shoulders and she's done a great job. She had 23 points last week against Centralia and she's just a competitor, she's tough, she finishes well. When her shot is going she's even harder to guard because she can beat you from the outside, she can beat you off the dribble a little bit. She's not going to out quick anybody, but she's just physically tough.”
The prize for the Indians beating Marquette is a showdown with the 25-3 Breese Central Cougars on Tuesday.
Hanlon thought her young squad battled hard Monday. Now the Explorers will only saw goodbye to a pair of seniors in Snider and Robinson.
“This is the first regional that all of those girls beside Claire Snider have played in,” Hanlon said. “Clarie Snider was the only one who dressed and played varsity all of last year. We're a very young team and I expect us to come back next year and be twice the team we were this year just because of experience.”
CLASS 2A CARLYLE REGIONAL
CARLYLE 54, MARQUETTE 43
Marquette 9 9 13 12 — 43
Carlyle 16 13 11 14 — 54
MARQUETTE (7-20) — Amber Robinson 7, Claire Snider 8, Brittany Pace 6, Caitlyn Hanlon 9, Andria Pace 11, Allison Hoefert 2. 2FG — 16 3FG — 1 FT — 8 PF — 15
CARLYLE (5-21) — Bailey Hilmes 2, Ashley Huels 7, Hannah Hoffman 22, Molly Isaak 2, Ashley Cohoon 2, Ashton Pieron 9, Kaelyn Johnson 7. 2FG — 13 3FG — 5 FT — 9 PF — 9