Indians win in tourney opener at home

Pontiac tallied the first three baskets and did not trail in routing Ottawa 71-44 in the opening game of the Pontiac Thanksgiving Tournament Tuesday evening.
    The girls’ basketball tournament began a day late due to the devastating storm that blew through Washington Sunday. The Panthers were to participate in the tournament but backed out Monday, creating the need to adjust the schedule.
    Nothing changed for Pontiac because the Tribe was originally scheduled to play the first game Tuesday anyway.
    The inside game of the Indians is expected to be solid, and it was showing why early. Senior Kaela Hodges scored two baskets and senior Maddie Dohleman added a put-back as PTHS took a 6-0 lead in the first 2 1/2 minutes.
    Jasmin Bailey bit a 3-pointer for the Pirates to make it 6-3 but that was as close as they got all night.
    “I thought we played well, we shot the ball extremely well,” PTHS head coach Mindy Whitehouse said. “Fundamentally, we were pretty sound. We had some turnovers but we had a lot of subs and a lot of combos. We have a lot of players playing new positions.”
Erinn Hodges is one of those new kids. The freshman is running the point and scored her first point on a free throw with 4:35 left in the first quarter. Big sister Kaela rebounded the missed second toss and scored on a put-back for a 9-3 lead that led to an Ottawa timeout.
    Whitehouse said she felt Erinn Hodges did well running the point in her first effort.
    Kelsey Walsberg, another one of the seniors Whitehouse is expecting big things from, did not disappoint. She buried four 3-pointers on the night. The first made it 12-3 with 3:55 to go in the first period.
    Pontiac went on a 12-point run early in the second quarter to blow the game wide open. Kaela Hodges scored the first five points, Erinn Hodges added a triple and Walsberg scored on a drive and two free throws as the Pontiac lead grew to 30-13.
    “We’re learning how to compete,” Whitehouse said. “Some key players got into foul trouble and I don’t think it bothered us all that much. Everyone realizes they have to contribute. In order to win the big games everyone has to step up.”
    The Indians were able to kick up the tempo a notch in the third period after a sluggish beginning tot he second half. PTHS put up 10 points in a 2:24 time span as the lead reached 52-31.
    Another thing Whitehouse was happy to see was having eight different players score in the game for the Indians.
    “I liked it because it was a huge team game,” Whitehouse said. “Everybody was scoring and everybody was working hard.”
    Kaela Hodges had 21 points and 16 rebounds for her first double-double of the season. Walsberg added 16 points for Pontiac (1-0) while Dohleman and Ashley Harfst each chipped in 9 points. Erinn Hodges finished with  6 points and Jordan Johns and Bailey Sartoris scored 4 points apiece. Ashton Farris threw in 2 markers.
    Cassidy Rice scored 12 points for Ottawa (0-1) and Jill Wignes had 8 points.
    Bradley-Bourbonnais claimed the second game of the night 66-43 over a game LaSalle-Peru club. The Cavaliers took the floor just three days after the volleyball team placed second at the Class 3A state tournament.
    Jasmine Elliott scored 10 points in the second quarter as the Boilermakers outscored LaSalle-Peru 20-8 to take a 38-19 halftime lead.
    Elliott finished with 18 points for Bradley and Martha Burse added 16 points.
    Quincie Weber scored 12 points for LaSalle-Peru.
    The round-robin tournament continues Thursday with LaSalle-Peru taking on Ottawa and PTHS facing Bradley-Bourbonnais.