Girls basketball: Blue, Hoyer lead Illineks to victory in season opener
Published: Friday, November 20, 2009 - 4:52pm
When & Where: Thursday, Nov. 19, Atwood-Hammond High School
Result: Uni 59, Atwood-Hammond (South Piatt Co-op) 45
Season Record: 1-0 overall, 0-0 East Central Illinois Conference
Summary: Sophomore Jamie Blue picked up where she left off from her spectacular freshman season by recording a triple-double in Uni's 2009-10 debut. Freshman Emma Hoyer proved that she will be a force to be reckoned as well, adding a double-double and leading the team in both points and rebounds.
Next Game: The Illineks begin play in the annual McDonald's Comet Classic with two games Saturday at Oakwood High School: 10:30 a.m. vs. Westville and 1:30 p.m. vs. Chrisman
Jamie Blue talks about last night's win, newcomer Emma Hoyer, and the strengths of this year's team.
Click to listen (1:27)
ATWOOD — Behind sophomore Jamie Blue's triple-double and freshman Emma Hoyer's team-high 18 points and 14 rebounds, the Uni girls opened their season Thursday with a 59-45 win over Atwood-Hammond (South Piatt Co-op).
The victory marked the varsity head-coaching debut of Jamie's father, Jeff Blue, who coached the JV last year.
Jamie finished the game with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists.
She picked up where she left off as a freshman, when her all-around skills earned her the award of 2009 Illinois Small School Newcomer of the Year.
"It thought it was a very good first game," she said. "We came out and we played really well. It was fun to see how […] the team bonded together, and we seemed to work well together moving up and down the court. Our defense was very good."
The teamwork that the Illineks showed was impressive considering the preseason obstacles they faced. Seniors Erika Belmont and Maritza Mestre were on the swim team this fall and couldn't attend basketball practice until this week, after their swimming season had ended. In addition, the flu bug hit hard, causing the team to be practice shorthanded on many occasions.
"So coming out and playing that well the first game I think was a really good accomplishment," Jamie said.
The nonconference road game was close early on as Uni led 12-11 at the end of the first quarter. After going into halftime ahead 25-21, the Illineks put the contest away with a strong third quarter, outscoring South Piatt 15-7 en route to the 14-point victory.
Blue's fellow co-captains, seniors Rachel Harmon and Michelle Wong, fouled out of the game but not before having an impact on the outcome. Wong scored six points and recorded two steals, while Harmon added four points and seven rebounds.
Hoyer, meanwhile, had a stellar high school debut. The 6-footer established her inside presence with nine defensive rebounds and five offensive boards. Blue was not surprised by her teammate's performance.
"I've played with Emma since she was a subbie," Blue said. "She played in a tournament with my traveling basketball team, and I played with her all summer, and so I've really gotten to know her, and I really like working with her on the court. She is obviously a tall presence inside, so it's easy to kick the ball in and out. I really enjoy having her on the team, and I think everyone is really happy that she's here."
Junior Heather Lin added eight points for the Illineks and had strong defensive game with a team-high three steals. Mestre and Belmont contributed with five and four points, respectively.
Last year the Illineks opened their season with a 30-24 win over South Piatt. Blue made her own high school debut in that contest with 10 points and seven rebounds to go with three steals, two blocks, and one assist.
The Illineks have the annual McDonald's Comet Classic coming up next. Last year Uni placed fifth, led by all-tourney picks Rachel Skoza and Jessi Sullivan, who have since graduated.
The girls will start tournament play with two games Saturday: 10:30 a.m. vs. Westville and 1:30 p.m. vs. Chrisman. Both games will be played at Oakwood High School.
Uni will play three more tournament contests next week: 6 p.m. Monday vs. Hoopeston Area (at Oakwood Grade School), 6 p.m. Tuesday vs. Shiloh (at OGS), and a final-round game Friday against an opponent to be determined (at Oakwood High).
Blue is confident the team is up to the challenge.
"I think our team is very intense," she said, "and I think they're going to leave everything they have on the court every single time we play."
Uni at Atwood-Hammond at a Glance
Final score: Uni 59, Atwood-Hammond (South Piatt Co-op) 45
- Uni: 12 - 13 - 15 - 19 - 59
- A-H: 11 - 10 - 07 - 17 - 45
|Player (alphabetical order)||Total points (2pt-3pt-FT)||Rebounds (off-def)||Steals||Blocks||Assists|
|Erika Belmont||4 (2-0-0)||3 (3-0)||1||1||0||Jamie Blue||14 (5-0-4)||10 (3-7)||2||0||10||Rachel Harmon||4 (2-0-0)||7 (5-2)||0||0||1||Emma Hoyer||18 (9-0-0)||14 (5-9)||1||2||1||Rachael Kempe||0||0||0||0||0||Amrutha Kumaran||0||0||0||0||0||Heather Lin||8 (4-0-0)||4 (2-2)||3||0||2||Maritza Mestre||5 (2-0-1)||2 (1-1)||0||0||1||Sarah Sutter||0||0||0||0||0||Abby Radnitzer||0||0||0||0||0||Juliana Trach||0||0||0||0||0||Michelle Wong||6 (3-0-0)||0||2||0||1||Team Totals||59 (27-0-5)||40 (19-21)||9||3||16|