STREATOR — The Streator girls basketball team was able to get some strong performances from the likes of junior post Chloe Baker and sophomore point guard Lyniah Anderson to go with another solid game from sophomore post Natali Haynes; get three defensive quarters in the books allowing only single digits; and get the ball in its hands and a play called in the closing seconds of a tie game.
About the only thing the Lady Bulldogs weren't able to get in the Interstate Eight Conference home meeting with the Herscher Tigers on Thursday was a game-winning shot.
That came from Herscher junior Mya Johanson.
Johanson banked in a contested transition shot in the lane as time expired, ending a back-and-forth affair and lifting Herscher to a 39-37 road victory here at Pops Dale Gymnasium. Herscher is now 11-10 (5-2); Streator 4-13 (1-7).
Streator's girls — using a more balanced scoring effort than usual as leading scorer Haynes was the focus of the collapsing Tigers defense — led for a fair share of the contest, crafting a 16-9 advantage before Haynes put in her first point on a free throw midway through the second quarter. Baker in the paint, Anderson driving to the hoop and additional buckets from Cali Rogers and call-up Anna Hoffmeyer added to the Lady Bulldogs' total.
"I couldn't be more proud of them, because that was one of our main (talking points) tonight," said SHS coach Beau Albert. "This is one of the few times where the other team had a similar type of player (Johanson), size-wise and physical, as Natali in the post, and we told her, 'Natali, if you feel the double (team) coming, you have to look down on the other block for Chloe or get it out(side).'
"Chloe did a great job of stepping up, and then we hit a few shots including Lyniah hitting a few floaters in the lane to keep us in the ballgame."
Still, the hosts found themselves down at the half, 27-21, after Herscher's Johanson took control aided by back-to-back 3s from point guard Megan Berns.
After the halftime break, the Lady 'Dogs responded themselves with quick buckets from Haynes, Dezirea Jordan and Haynes again to immediately retake the lead. A few lead changes ensued, but SHS ultimately led 33-32 heading into the fourth quarter and 35-32 on an Anderson steal and layup a minute and a half into the fourth before falling behind again and tying things 37-37 on Haynes' spinning shot off the glass with just 55 ticks remaining.
"There have been games where we've hung around teams in this conference for the first half," said Albert, "but the deficit's ballooned to 20 or 30 real quick on us in the third. But tonight we hit some shots, it was back and forth, and it was a great game."
Both teams had multiple chances to take the lead, but Streator seemed to have the best opportunity with a set play called out of a timeout with :19.8 left. That opportunity, however, led to Streator's 20th turnover of the night, and Herscher in transition got the ball to Johanson. The junior post with guard skills put the game-winner off the glass and through the hoop as the final horn sounded for her 23rd and 24th points of the night to go with 13 rebounds and five blocked shots.
"We've talked at practice about these close games and how to finish them off, but it just got ugly tonight," Herscher coach Philip Peacock said. "(Streator) did a good job, though. Their guards in their zone really gave our ball-handlers some trouble there late ... but (one the last possession) the girls knew who to get the ball to in a pressure situation like that.
"Mya does a great job of putting her body in a position that, when she gets it, she can do something with it, and she did."
Haynes (11 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots) and frontcourt running mate Baker (10 points and seven rebounds) led the SHS attack. Anderson added eight points and a game-best eight steals.
At Pops Dale Gymnasium, Streator
Herscher 39, Streator 37
(Key: FG FT-FTA TP)
HERSCHER (39) — Berns 4 0-1 12, Schager 0 0-0 0, Lovell 0 0-0 0, Hendershott 0 0-0 0, Johanson 9 5-7 24, Brown 0 0-0 0, Wagner 0 0-0 0, Running 0 0-0 0, Ruder 1 1-2 3. Totals 14 6-10 39.
STREATOR (37) — Anderson 4 0-1 8, Jordan 1 0-1 3, Phillis 0 0-0 0, Baker 3 4-10 10, Haynes 3 5-8 11, Rogers 1 0-0 2, Perez 0 0-0 0, Ingram 0 0-0 0, Hoffmeyer 1 0-0 3. Totals 13 9-20 37.
Herscher (11-10, 5-2) 6 21 5 7 — 39
Streator (4-13, 1-7) 8 13 12 4 — 37
3-point goals - Herscher 5 (Berns 4, Johanson 1); Streator 2 (Jordan 1, Hoffmeyer 1). Rebounds - Herscher 29 (Johanson 13); Streator 26 Baker 7, Haynes 6). Assists - Herscher 7 (Berns 2, Johanson 2); Streator 7 (Anderson 2, Haynes 2). Steals - Herscher 8 (Johanson 3); Streator 17 (Anderson 8, Jordan 3). Blocked shots - Herscher 6 (Johanson 5); Streator 4 (Haynes 3). Turnovers - Herscher 27; Streator 20. Total fouls (none fouled out) - Herscher 17; Streator 13.