The Gillespie girls basketball team (10-8) has their sights set on an eighth Macoupin County title and will vie for the first place finish Saturday night against Piasa Southwestern (10-11) at North Mac’s Girard campus with action scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m.
It will be the first time Gillespie will meet Southwestern this season. Southwestern has 16 Macoupin County titles. The teams are scheduled to meet in the regular season on February 1 in Southwestern.
The Miners advanced to the championship after victories on Tuesday against Bunker Hill and Thursday against Staunton/Mt. Olive. Leading the team in scoring in the county tournament has been Paige Niemeyer (30 points), MacKenzy Mix (21 points) and Rylee Jarman (17 points).
BUNKER HILL (63-40): Gillespie opened the tournament with a victory over Bunker Hill. The Miners lost to the Minutemen in the Carlinville Holiday Tournament, but then turned around 13 days later and beat them 82-56 before meeting them for the third time this season at the county tournament.
The Miners opened with a 15-5 first quarter lead and extended the lead 29-16 at halftime. Scoring from nine different players in the second half sealed the 63-40 victory for Gillespie. Niemeyer led with 17, Jarman followed with 11, Mix scored 7 while Abbie Barber, Keaton Link and Emily Schmidt each posted 6 points.
STAUNTON (51-29): After leading 10-9 after the first quarter, the Miners blew it open in the second quarter outscoring the Staunton and Mt. Olive coop 21 points to 3 for a 31-12 halftime score. Gillespie added 14 points in the third quarter while Staunton added 4. The junior varsity squad for the Miners added 6 points in the fourth quarter and fended off the Bulldogs defensively for the 51-29 victory.
Mix led with 14 points, 4 rebounds and 3 steals. Niemeyer followed with 13 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds and 4 steals while Keaton Link finished with 12 points. Jarman and Schmidt each recorded 6 rebounds.
After the county tournament, the Miners have three regular season games remaining on the schedule. Gillespie will host Greenville on Thursday, January 25 before finishing the season on the road with a visit to Litchfield on Monday, January 29 and Southwestern on Thursday, February 1.