SOUTH HOLLAND | It was a "3 yards and a cloud of dust" type of affair.
Except the championship final of the Lady Sting Classic grade 7-8 girls basketball tourney played Oct. 26 at Seton Academy wasn't a football game. Also, the hardwood floor didn't yield much dust ... only bumps, bruises and splinters as players from Dirksen and Roosevelt repeatedly went prone in hard-fought scrums for loose balls.
What ended up deciding the often-gridlocked defensive duel was a pair of finesse moves by Dirksen guard Brittany Williams that led way to a 14-11 win for the Lady Senators (9-3).
"This was our school's first basketball title since we re-started the program three years ago after an eight-year absence," Lady Senators coach Larry Russell said.
Roosevelt took an 8-4 lead at the half thanks in part to Monique Pruitt's 3-pointer to open the scoring and her subsequent 3-point play to put her team up 6-2 in a game where baskets didn't come easy.
With a little more than five minutes remaining in regulation, Williams scored on a runner in the lane to tie it at 8-8.
Shortly after, Williams was able break back-court pressure with some nifty behind-the-back ballhandling before delivering a left-handed side-arm assist to Taliya Means in the post to give the Lady Senators the lead for good (10-8) after holding Roosevelt scoreless for most of the second half.
Though Dirksen is located in Calumet City, it is part of the Dolton School District 149. The girls basketball team is not yet affiliated with an athletic conference.
"Just starting out again, we try to pick up games where ever we can," Russell said. "Getting this first (tournament championship) helps a lot."
Seton Academy will host the Sting Classic grade 7-8 boys basketball tournament on Dec. 13-15.