The Gillespie High School girls’ basketball team (7-8) finished out 2017 with a fifth-place finish in the annual Carlinville Holiday Tournament by defeating Greenfield and setting a new tournament record for free throw percentage. In 2018, the team is 1-1 with a win over Roxana and a loss to Hillsboro. The Miners will play two more games ahead of the Macoupin County Tournament that will be played in North Mac’s Girard campus which starts on Saturday.
The Miners went 2-2 in the tournament with wins over Litchfield and Greenfield and losses to Nokomis and Bunker Hill to finish in fifth place. Carlinville finished the tournament in first, Nokomis in second, Staunton third, Bunker Hill fourth, Greenfield sixth, Litchfield seventh and East-Alton Wood River last. Paige Niemeyer was the sole Miner to be named to the all-tournament team.
Gillespie also established a new tournament team free throw percentage record by making 38 of 49 attempted for an overall 77.6 percent.
LITCHFIELD (41-35) – The team beat Litchfield 41-35 on the day after Christmas to even their record to 5-5. The Miners led 14-12 at half but trailed 22-27 heading into the fourth quarter. In the fourth quarter, Gillespie outscored the Panthers 19-8 to take the victory. Niemeyer carried the team with 19 points, Rachel Ely scored seven and Emily Schmidt posted six.
NOKOMIS (41-45) – Gillespie barely dropped their first game of the tournament to the Redskins. The teams were knotted at 11 after the first quarter and the Miners trailed by one heading into the fourth quarter where Nokomis outscored Gillespie 9-6 for the victory. Niemeyer led with 17, Grace Bertolino followed with nine and Shelby Taylor finished with six.
BUNKER HILL (49-61) – The Miners suffered their largest defeat of the tournament to Bunker Hill who went on to finish ahead of Gillespie in fourth place. Gillespie trailed 25-30 at halftime and 41-45 at the end of the third quarter, but then only scored eight points in the fourth quarter to drop the match-up. Seven Miners combined for 49 points including Niemeyer (19), Rylee Jarman (7), McKenzy Mix (7), Keaton Link (6), Abbie Barber (4), Schmidt (4) and Bertolino (2).
GREENFIELD (56-21) – Gillespie easily knocked out Greenfield in the fifth-place game on Dec. 29. The Miners coasted to a 15-3 lead by the end of the first quarter and continued to extend their lead each quarter. At halftime, the Miners led 24-11 and extended their lead to 43-19 at the end of the third quarter. Leading the Miners were Niemeyer and Jarman who posted 15 and 10 points, respected.
Gillespie started off 2018 with a loss and win. The Miners lost to Hillsboro last Thursday 53-59, but bounced back with a victory over Roxana on Monday night beating the Shells 55-40. Niemeyer led with 19 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and six steals. Barber followed with 12 points while Jarman and Mix each posted 10 for Gillespie. The Miners also shot 100 percent from the charity line.
The Miners will travel to Bunker Hill on Wednesday and then host Metro-East Lutheran on Thursday evening before starting the Macoupin County Tournament next week. Gillespie is seeded third in the tournament and plays Tuesday, Jan. 16 at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday, Jan. 18 at 7:30 p.m. All the games will be played at the North Mac south campus in Girard.