Streaks take Control of Western Big 6
By John Ring GALESBURG - The Western Big 6 in girls basketball is about as tough and rugged as you’d want to see in the State of Illinois. Year in and year out, the games are physical, wins on the road are rare and it’s a feat to win this Conference outright. 2021 is no different despite the pandemic and the crummy weather in February. The Silver Streaks won back to back games against Moline (on the road) and Geneseo (at home) and now have a perfect 6-0 record on the season (3-0 in the Big 6). A desperate Moline fourth quarter comeback fell short in Galesburg’s 45-43 win, thanks in large part to reserve senior Lily Hudgins pouring in 16 points. And thanks to Abby Davidson’s double-double (16 points and 11 rebounds), the overall game of Lauren Livingston (16 points, 7 rebounds) and Riley Jenkins’ clutch play down the stretch, the Streaks held off Geneseo by the score of 56-52. “They’re the defending champions of the Big 6,” said Davidson. “We wanted this game. Riley was big for us and Kaydence Lydic played great defense tonight.” The Maple Leafs fell to Quincy the night before and against Galesburg, played without three of their 5’10” players—seniors Madeline and Abigail Barickman and Brenna McGuire, all seniors. They were off playing club volleyball. But Geneseo tends to be tall, athletic and they always have a good interior passing game and they fought the Streaks tooth and nail. Tied 11-11 after the first period, Geneseo took their first lead at 16-15 but then a three-pointer by Livingston and a basket by Kaydence Lydic keyed a 7-0 Silver Streak run and gave them their biggest lead of the night at 22-16. Still, the Leafs fought back and had trimmed the lead to 39-37 after three quarters thanks to the play of Kammie Ludwig (16 points). Danielle Beach—a midget by Geneseo standards at just 5’9”—tied the game up with a layup at 41-41 and played tough defense on Jenkins. But tied at 44-44, Jenkins scored her first basket of the game (and first in eight quarters). After Ludwig answered with a jump shot, Riley connected on a pair of free throws. Jenkins finished with 11 points, including several big free throws in the last two minutes. The Streaks then capitalized on a Geneseo turnover and an Audree Peck basket for a 50-46 lead and they held off the Leafs for the win. “Riley may have been off scoring for us but it didn’t affect the other parts of her game,” said Livingston. “We’ve come a long way from last year. Getting Abby back from a knee injury was big and we’re better in transition.” With consecutive Big 6 wins, Galesburg is in control of their own destiny. “It feels great,” said Livingston. “We’re just taking it one game at a time. I’m proud of this team and the way we’re playing. We pick each other up.” Next up for Galesburg is a road trip to Quincy this Friday night.