September 19, 2021 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Barnes, Cramer help SJO girls’ basketball start off season perfect

So far, so good.

The St. Joseph-Ogden High School girls’ basketball team has opened the season with three straight wins and will play for the Lady Falcon/Bunnie Tip-Off championship on Friday night in Fisher.

The Spartans, who finished third in the state in Class 2A last season, clinched their spot in the title game of the eight-team tournament with a 46-43 win against Villa Grove/Heritage on Thursday night in Fisher. Earlier this week, SJO topped Iroquois West 49-16 on Tuesday night and Fisher 39-22, with both of those games in Fisher as well.

SJO (3-0) will make its fourth trip to Fisher on Friday night, squaring off against Paxton-Buckley-Loda at 7 p.m. in the championship game.

SJO held a slim 30-29 lead against VG/H to start the fourth quarter on Thursday night before holding on for the win. Senior guard Katie Cramer sank four three-pointers en route to a team-high 14 points for the Spartans against the Blue Devils. Senior forward Taylor Barnes also joined Cramer in double figures with 13 points, while sophomore guard Payton Jacob chipped in seven points.

In the win against Iroquois West, SJO held the Raiders to single-digit point totals in each quarter, a key reason why the Spartans cruised to a 33-point victory. The Spartans led 10-2 at the end of the first quarter, 26-5 at halftime and 38-9 to start the fourth quarter. Sophomore guard Ashlyn Lannert led SJO with a game-high 15 points, while sophomore guard Alyssa Hamilton was next in line with nine points. Cramer and Barnes both finished with six points, while junior forward Payton Vallee added five points.

SJO overcame a sluggish first half in its season debut against Fisher to record its first win of the season. The Spartans trailed 6-5 at the end of the first quarter, but took a 19-14 lead into halftime. SJO cranked up its defensive intensity in the third quarter, holding the Bunnies to only two points, to go ahead 31-16 by the time the fourth quarter rolled around.

Balanced scoring paved the way for SJO, with Hamilton (nine points), Jacob (eight points), Vallee (seven points), Barnes (six points), Lannert (six points) and Cramer (three points) accounting for all of the scoring by the Spartans.

Barnes, Cramer help SJO girls’ basketball start off season perfectOnce SJO wraps up play on Friday night in Fisher, SJO has a few days off before playing again. The Spartans will host Paris at 7:30 p.m. next Tuesday in SJO’s season opener, the only game on SJO’s schedule next week.

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