Playing quality competition should only make a team better later in the season.
The St. Joseph-Ogden High School girls’ basketball team is hoping that adage comes true after suffering two losses last week to nonconference foes.
SJO lost 58-46 at Mahomet-Seymour on Dec. 6 and followed that up with a 48-35 home loss to Teutopolis last Thursday night.
The Spartans (6-3) will have a week off in between games, with SJO looking to end its two-game losing skid at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday when it hosts Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin in a nonconference game.
SJO only trailed Teuetopolis 14-9 at the end of the first quarter before going into halftime with a 30-13 disadvantage. SJO managed to trim its deficit to 37-23 to start the fourth quarter, but the early lead built up by the Wooden Shoes was too much.
Ella Armstrong scored a game-high 13 points to pace the Spartans, making two three-pointers. Payton Jacob, Peyton Jones and Alyssa Hamilton all added five points apiece, with Taylor Wells (four points) and Ashlyn Lannert (three points) rounding out the scoring.
Mahomet-Seymour took control against SJO by outplaying the Spartans in the second and third quarters. SJO only trailed 8-5 at the end of the first quarter before the Bulldogs went into halftime up 29-12 and took a 45-18 lead into the fourth quarter.
Jones scored a team-high 19 points, draining five three-pointers in the process. Lannert and Jacob each chipped in eight points, while Wells (four points), Hamilton (four points) and Alison Kearney (three points) also dented the scoring column.
After Thursday night’s home game against BHRA, SJO will play at Cissna Park at 6 p.m. on Dec. 20 before starting play in the 16-team State Farm Holiday Classic.
The holiday tournament pairings were recently released, with SJO receiving the No. 4 seed in the small-school tournament that runs from Dec. 27-30. The Spartans will open up their stay in Bloomington-Normal at 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 27 and play No. 13 Normal U-High in a first-round game at Normal Community High School. The Spartans would then play either No. 5 Rockford Lutheran or No. 12 Annawan in its next game. If SJO beats Normal U-High, it would play in the quarterfinals at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 28 at Bloomington High School and if it loses to Normal U-High, it would play at in the consolation quarterfinals at 12:30 p.m. on Dec. 28 at Bloomington High School.
Normal Community High School and Bloomington High School will serve as the two main venues for the small-school tournament, with the championship game set for 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 30 at the Shirk Center on the campus of Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington.