Raiders hold Lions in check

Bryan Veginski
Taryn Carpenter, left, an East Peoria sophomore, drives past a Danville Schlarman defender Friday afternoon during a Pool B girls basketball game in the 36th annual Manual Holiday Tournament. The Hilltoppers won, 50-42.

The East Peoria girls basketball team had a rough opener Friday morning in the 36th annual Manual Holiday Tournament.

The Raiders were held to nine points in the first half in an eventual 49-22 loss to Peoria High as Pool B play began in Peoria.

Remi Ferguson tallied eight points to lead East Peoria, which also got outscored 21-10 in the third quarter.

Rachel Hilton added six points for the Raiders.

Mackenzie Jenkins was the Lions’ top scorer with a dozen points.

Danville Schlarman 50, EP 42

The Raiders made a second-half charge in their second game Friday, but a dynamic individual performance carried the Hilltoppers to victory.

Schlarman freshman Arieal Scott had 26 points, 17 of which came in the first and fourth quarters.

“She’s just a great player,” said EPCHS head coach Khassandrae Brown of Scott. “We didn’t have an answer for her.”

Scott hit shots from the outside, was a terrific finisher on drives to the hoop through traffic and made 11-of-13 free throws, including her last nine in succession.

East Peoria was led by Hilton’s 12 points, seven of which she generated in the third period.

The Raiders did not hit double figures until 43.9 seconds left in the first half.

The second half was a completely different story.

Three-pointers by Eden Tornow and Hilton sliced an 11-point East Peoria deficit at the break to 25-18.

Piilani Noguchi started a 9-0 Raiders run that forged a tie at 27 with a bucket with 3:45 remaining in the third quarter.

Hilton started a 4-of-6 free-throw showing in the period with a split at the stripe 21 seconds later.

She also took both sets of shots awarded after technical fouls were assessed to the Hilltoppers, first on a player, then on their head coach.

Noguchi hit another shot before Taryn Carpenter sank a trey with 2:27 to go.

“Our sophomores that we brought with us stepped up and made their presence known,” Brown said of Noguchi and Carpenter.

Their effort helped the Raiders’ bench net half of the team’s points on the afternoon.

Carpenter’s basket at the 40-second mark of the third, part of a seven-point outing, sent East Peoria to the final quarter trailing just 32-31.

Hilton and Tornow made 3s in the fourth period, with the latter’s completing a nine-point game, but the Raiders cooled off as they tried to get over the top.

Tornow’s triple got East Peoria within 9-7 with 1:23 remaining in the opening stanza, but the Mid-Illini Conference representative went nearly eight minutes before scoring again.

Tornow was another reserve who filled a pivotal role. She not only played a part offensively, but was active on the defensive end and had key hustle plays that kept possessions alive.

Still, the Raiders’ halftime shortfall was just 23-12, keeping them within striking distance.

East Peoria coped with foul trouble to key players throughout the contest, making its second-unit contributions even more important.

EP 44, Springfield Lanphier 27

The Raiders won a competition bracket semifinal Saturday against the Lions.

A 17-6 third-quarter bulge gave East Peoria (3-12) a 20-point lead with just eight minutes remaining.

Tornow hit a trio of 3s to record a game-best 15 points for the victors.

Ashley Emert also was in double figures for the Raiders with 11 points.

Aided by a pair of treys, Hilton had nine points as East Peoria ended a seven-game losing skid.

Sierra James, Arrion Burton and Ashley Hackwith all had eight points for Lanphier.

Finale: East Peoria lost, 48-39, to Dunlap Monday in the title game of the Manual competition bracket.

The Eagles also won a Mid-Illini matchup hosted Dec. 12 by the Raiders, 52-42.