May 20, 2022 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Armstrong leads balanced offense in win against Pontiac

Recovering from a tough home loss with a road win is always a good sign.
Especially with multiple road games on the upcoming schedule for the St. Joseph-Ogden girls’ basketball team.


The Spartans responded from a close 48-46 loss against Tuscola last Saturday in nonconference action in St. Joseph with a 60-45 win at Pontiac on Monday night.


The Illini Prairie Conference win against Pontiac keeps SJO unbeaten in league play. The Spartans (5-1, 4-0 Illini Prairie) are set to continue conference action with a 7 p.m. home game on Thursday against Prairie Central.


SJO steadily pulled away from Pontiac on Monday night, leaning on balanced scoring to avoid a two-game losing streak. Ella Armstrong dropped in a team-high 11 points for the Spartans, who led 12-10 at the end of the first quarter, 27-20 at halftime and 47-33 to start the fourth quarter.
But besides Armstrong, a host of other Spartans stepped up against Pontiac. Payton Jacob and Peyton Jones each scored nine points, with Jones sinking three three-pointers. Taylor Wells and Ashlyn Lannert each contributed eight points, with Lannert making two three-pointers.


Atleigh Hamilton wound up with seven points, while Payton Vallee (three points), Alyssa Hamilton (two points), Hope Rajlich (two points) and Nora Walden (one point) also dotted the scoring column.


SJO struggled early against unbeaten Tuscola, but nearly pulled off a comeback against the Warriors. Tuscola led 13-4 at the end of the first quarter, 29-21 at halftime and 40-33 at the end of the third quarter before the Spartans outscored the Warriors 13-8 in the final quarter.


Wells finished with a team-high 15 points for SJO, the only Spartan to finish in double figures. Jacob chipped in eight points, while Lannert added six points. Jones (five points), Armstrong (four points), Abby Behrens (four points), Atleigh Hamilton (two points) and Vallee (two points) also contributed.


After Thursday night’s game with Prairie Central, the Spartans are slated to step out of conference play and travel to play at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday at Paris. It’s a rematch of last season’s Class 2A sectional semifinal game between the two programs that Paris won 62-35. Saturday’s game at Paris is the first of four straight road games coming up on the schedule for SJO.

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