ROCK ISLAND — If this is going to be the new Western Big Six girls basketball, fans are going to be loving it.
Moline snapped Rock Island's 40-game conference winning streak with a Bralee Trice 3-pointer in the closing minute in front of a loud, near-capacity Rock Island gym for a 61-58 victory.
"That's Moline-Rock Island rivalry basketball," said Moline coach Tracy Sant Amour. "Both teams battled the entire game. We took a big lead, they battled back and had control, we took the lead back and then we won it on the late shot.
"As for the streak, I knew all about it but I'm not sure all of our girls knew anything about it. We just wanted to come out and play a great game."
It became great in the closing seconds. Rock Island senior Hannah Simmer splashed in two free throws with 44 seconds left to tie the game at 58. After a Rock Island timeout, Moline got the ball to Cierra McNamee in the post.
With three Rocks surrounding McNamee, she looked outside and saw Trice alone in the corner. The junior went up and hit nothing but net for a 3-pointer to put the Maroons ahead with 23 seconds left.
"It wasn't the play at all," Trice said. "We wanted to get CC going to the basket but when everyone went after her I just found an open spot. I was confident as soon as I went up that I was making it."
Added Sant Amour, "The way Bralee is shooting the 3 right now, we are always looking for her when she gets out to the arc."
Trice led the Maroons (5-0, 1-0 Big Six) with 26 points, including four 3-pointers.
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For the Rocks (0-3, 0-1), the loss was their third heartbreaker in less than a week. They lost in overtime at Peoria and Batavia.
"Yeah, I'm tired of talking about games like this," Rocky coach Henry Hall said. "It is kind of the same thing where we just are not making good basketball decisions and that's kept us from starting 3-0.
"We're getting better, and this was our best game of the season, but we're just not making smart plays and basketball plays. It's there, I'm telling you. We're used to winning all the time and sometimes it takes longer to find the way to win."
After a close first quarter, the Maroons went on a run in the second quarter to take a 13-point lead at 35-22. The Rocks cut the lead to 35-27 at halftime and held the Maroons to two free throws well into the third quarter as the Rocks went ahead 41-37.
"Both teams were working so hard and both teams were battling foul trouble," Sant Amour said. "CC had four fouls and we kept her out when Rock Island got ahead. They had a bunch of chances to build the lead but our defense kept us in it."
Hall said that was a key time in the game.
"That's those basketball plays," he said. "We had some players who didn't make plays and before you know it, we let them tie the game when we could have put a little distance between them."
From there, the teams went back in forth, with both teams struggling to finish around the basket and make free throws before that closing minute.
After the Trice 3, the Rocks never got a good look at a game-tying triple.
Kadence Tatum added 13 and McNamee grabbed nine rebounds for Moline.
For Rock Island, Simmer finished with 22 points and 17 rebounds but made just seven of her 24 shot attempts. Jamyah Winter hit four of five 3s and finished with 17 and Ella Engholm added 10 points, eight rebounds and three steals.