Harvest Christian tops Walther Christian for Lisle title
Senior guard Alyssa Iverson scored the first 13 points for Harvest Christian Saturday night in the championship game of Lisle's Holiday Cage Classic to keep the Lions in the game, and three quarters later she tallied the final 6 points to seal the game -- and the tournament title.
Harvest Christian defeated Walther Christian 66-59 to win the tournament title behind 33 points from Iverson. She also had 5 assists and 3 steals.
"What can I say? She's just a fantastic player," Harvest Christian coach Jeff Boldog said. "She is so hard to guard because if you come out and attack her outside, she's going to go inside. She was huge. She kept us in the game in the first half."
Nineteen of those 33 points came in the first half, yet Harvest Christian (14-3) still trailed 33-30 at halftime as the teams battled through 10 lead changes and 4 ties. The biggest lead for either team was 4 points.
The third quarter started in similar back-and-forth fashion. Iverson scored on a layup to put the Lions up 36-35; Kalvina Eubanks drove for a score to give the Lady Broncos a 38-36 lead.
Walther, after shooting 50 percent from the field in the first half at 14 of 28, didn't make another shot in the third quarter after Eubanks' bucket.
The Lions held Walther to 2-for-14 shooting in the third quarter and forced five turnovers, which was the springboard to a 19-1 run spanning the third and fourth quarters that opened up a 55-39 lead when Maddy Martin drained a corner 3-pointer off Iverson's drive and kick.
"It was really our defense in the second half," Boldog said. "We started to anticipate those passes. Made a few adjustments at halftime. And every girl stepped up."
Down 16 points with six minutes remaining, Walther fought back. Led by two sophomores -- Eubanks (13 points) and Tasia Jordan (16 points, 11 rebounds, 3 steals), the Lady Broncos got as close as 60-56 when Jordan sank 2 free throws with 1:48 remaining.
Harvest kept the ball in Iverson's hands, and she was fouled and made 2 free throws with 1:05 left for a 6-point lead, then made 2 more moments later for a 64-56 cushion with just 40 seconds to go.
Harvest was finally able to breathe easy in a game with 19 ties or lead changes.
"Oh my gosh, we knew this was going to be a battle," Boldog said. "We knew they were going to come out and play hard."
"This is huge for us. We knew this was going to be tough competition and we couldn't just fly through. I'm so proud of the way they stepped up in a big tournament like this. Hats off to them."
Iverson opened the game with a 3-point basket. She made two more 3s in the first quarter, yet the Lions still trailed 18-15 as they struggled to keep Walther off the offensive glass.
All those early 3s opened up the driving lanes the next three quarters for Iverson, who got to the free-throw line 12 times.
Elena Porrata also scored in double figures for Harvest with 11 points, as did senior center Grace Ringel with 10 points and 7 rebounds.
Jenn Kasper grabbed a team-high 9 rebounds while Martin added 9 points and 5 rebounds.
"Maddy Martin came off the bench and she had a big role," Boldog said. "We started working the ball inside and Grace Ringel stepped up and got some big buckets at the end. I couldn't be more proud of these girls."
Amanda Lams added 11 points and 6 rebounds for Walther, who outrebounded the Lions 45-38.