What a way to start the season. And the Drew Arteaga Era.
The St. Joseph-Ogden High School girls’ basketball team opened its opening week of the 2021-22 season under Arteaga, its new coach, with three resounding victories to win the four-team Toyota of Danville Turkey Tournament that the Spartans hosted.
The Spartans closed the tournament with a 54-26 win against Centennial last Thursday night, which was preceded by a 43-34 win against Tri-County on Nov. 16 and a 55-8 victory against Urbana on Nov. 15.
Ella Armstrong, Peyton Jones and Taylor Wells made the all-tournament team for SJO.
In the win against Centennial, SJO jumped out to a 17-2 lead at the end of the first quarter, led 25-6 at halftime and went into the fourth quarter ahead 37-15.
Armstrong poured in a game-high 18 points against Centennial, while Ashlyn Lannert contributed 11 points. Payton Jacob (eight points), Jones (seven points), Wells (three points), Addison Frick (two points), Alison Kearney (two points), Ellie Ward (two points) and Addy Martinie (one point) also dotted the scoring column.
In the win against Tri-County, the Spartans trailed 12-10 at the end of the first quarter, but went into halftime ahead 21-18 before the Titans took a 32-31 lead into the fourth quarter. The Spartans, however, clamped down defensively and outscored Tri-County 12-2 in the final quarter to earn a signature win against one of the top small-school programs in the state.
Armstrong paced SJO with 15 points, while Jones joined her in double figures with 10 points. Frick (five points), Alyssa Hamilton (five points), Abby Behrens (four points), Jacob (two points) and Wells (two points) rounded out the scoring for the Spartans.
SJO held a commanding 14-1 lead at the end of the first quarter against Urbana before leading 39-4 at halftime and 50-8 at the end of the third quarter.
Lannert scored a game-high 11 points against Urbana to spark SJO, with Jacob adding 10 points and Wells contributing eight points. Hallie Harms (seven points), Jones (four points), Hamilton (four points), Armstrong (three points), Frick (two points), Behrens (two points), Kearney (two points) and Ward (two points) all chipped in on the offensive fun as well.
SJO (3-0) is set to host Paris at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday in its only game this week before the Spartans resume play against Tuscola on Nov. 29 at 7:30 p.m. at home.