BEECHER | Amari Griffin knew it was her time, though it took her some time to get going.
The Beecher senior took control of the game in the third quarter on Friday, then helped seal the win with a pair of free throws down the stretch as the No. 5 Ladycats beat Illiana Christian 31-28 in the first round of the Ladycat Fall Classic.
"I knew I had to step it up in the second half," Griffin said. "I know I am supposed to take control underneath and I had to score some points.
Griffin finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds. She scored 12 of her points in the second half and Beecher (2-0) scored just 18 in the second half.
"She came up with a big block and got a big rebound for us," Beecher coach Mike Meyer said. "She knew she had to step up and we needed her too. She accepted the challenge tonight. She had some resiliency."
Neither team shot well as Illiana (0-2) was 12-of-43 and the Ladycats were 10-of-39 shooting from the field.
Griffin's 10-point third quarter gave Beecher a 25-21 lead after three. Illiana took a 26-25 lead on a 3-pointer from Mallory Fulton with 6 minutes, 12 seconds left. Beecher's Paige Wehling then hit a 3-pointer to give her team a 28-26 lead. Kate Von Schouwen scored Illiana's last points with 1:22 left to tie the game 28-28. Wehling then made a free throw and Griffin made two to ice the win.
"We were not that aggressive or on it tonight," Illiana coach Dave Bosman said. "We played well against Bloom (a loss) on Tuesday, but that intensity didn't carry over.
"We struggled at the free-throw line (2-of-8) and we also need to do a better job of trying to get to the line. We are a big team and we need to go to the hoop more to draw more fouls."