UTHS 48, ALLEMAN 37
ROCK ISLAND — United Township senior Brandi LaFountaine has hit the ground running in her return to the Panthers girls' basketball team.
In Thursday night’s 48-37 win at Alleman, she and junior teammate Jasmine Bell combined for 39 points for UT, which won its first conference game of the season, avenging a 42-37 season-opening loss to Alleman on Nov. 20.
LaFountaine scored a game-high 22 points on Thursday, matching Saturday's total in a win over Davenport West in her first game back from shoulder fatigue. Bell was 2-for-4 from deep with 17 points in UT’s second straight win.
“That’s what high school ball is about, is conference wins,” said LaFountaine, “so it’s really exciting that we came back to the second part of the Big 6 and got the dub.”
UT (5-14, 1-5 Big 6) led by five after the first quarter, but a strong second quarter by Alleman — making its first four shots — helped produce a halftime deadlock at 21.
LaFountaine sat for a stretch in the third quarter after picking up her third foul, but UT’s defense picked up things outside of the second quarter, holding Alleman (10-12, 1-6 Big 6) to 16 points in the second half and taking advantage of Alleman’s 15 turnovers in the game. UT had eight giveaways.
UT’s Davianna Morgan, who did not play the first half for disciplinary reasons, started the second half and brought additional defensive energy despite going scoreless.
But the combination offensively of LaFountaine and Bell is one that is welcome for UT coach Carie Walker.
“Brandi and Jas complement each other so well, and having Brandi back, with those two, it’s a pretty solid force offensively,” said Walker, who had Jade Hunter score four points in the second half and lead the team with seven rebounds. “There was nice balance out there and it has been the last two games. We’re just hoping we can continue to do that.”
Madison Gordon added five points in a game in which just four Panthers scored. UT was 16 of 43 from the field, but got to the line 23 times, making 14. LaFountaine was 8 of 10 at the stripe.
Alleman senior DeAjah Woods did her best to will the Pioneers to a win, but had to settle for a team-high 17 points. Her last basket of the fourth quarter cut UT's lead to 38-37 with under four minutes to play, but the Panthers ended the game on a 10-0 run as Alleman racked up fouls without baskets.
Gabbi Loiz and Samantha Coleman each scored seven points and were both 3-of-10 shooting for Alleman.
Loiz gave credit to the UT defense for its ability to shut her down and hold Alleman to 16-of-46 shooting from the field as a team.
“I just couldn’t get open at any point. It was just really hard for me to get touches,” said Loiz, who praised Woods’ game. “She really stepped up and I was really proud of her for doing that.”
LaFountaine, who has played like she is making up for lost time in her first two games back, has paired her production well with Bell's.
"With us both being scorers, we feed off each other and give each other passes," LaFountaine said. "We're working as a team to get more points on the board."