By THE HERALD-WHIG STAFF
CAMP POINT, Ill. -- A 53-32 victory over South Fulton in the championship game of the Central Lady Panther Classic was a double bonus for the Unity girls basketball team.
It also avenged the Mustangs' 62-49 loss in the Class 1A regional championship last year.
"Our whole team has been focused on the next time we matched up with them," Unity coach Brad Begeman said. "They ended our season last year, and we worked extremely hard in the offseason getting ready. We found our weaknesses and worked on fixing them."
It is the second tournament title this season for the Mustangs (19-4), who won their own tournament with a 43-29 victory over Central-Southeastern Dec. 8.
After placing third in the Lady Panther tournament last year, the Mustangs went 4-0 in pool play this year.
"One of our goals was to win our own tournament," Begeman said. "Another goal was to win the Lady Panther Classic.
"We played four excellent games (this week). The last five or six games, we have been playing extremely strong."
The game was tied at 8 after the first quarter. Unity then held South Fulton to two points in the second quarter and built a 21-10 halftime lead. Unity took a 34-21 lead going into the final period, then outscored the Lady Rebels 19-11 in the final eight minutes.
Junior Maggie Bowles grabbed nine steals while scoring nine points.
"(Bowles) set the tone defensively for our whole team," Begeman said. "She harasses the opponents when they are bringing the ball up the court."
Breanne Begeman and Brooklyn Moore scored 13 points apiece to lead Unity. Jill Donley added 11. Begeman also grabbed eight rebounds and doled out seven assists.