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Girls basketball: Rensselaer overwhelmed in regional semifinal loss to Benton Central

Updated: March 18, 2013 7:13AM



RENSSELAER — With the Class 3A regional semifinal game no longer in doubt and the best season Rensselaer has had in seven years all but over, there was a look of resignation.

Running into a buzz saw can do that to a team. It was all too familiar to the Bombers, who lost to this same Benton Central team by 42 points in early December.

The Bisons began the game with a 24-2 run and never looked back in a 64-28 win, ending the Bombers’ chances of winning their first regional championship.

“Obviously we did not get off to the start we wanted to but my kids battled,” Rensselaer coach Jeff Marlow said. “We played hard all the way to the end but we didn’t shoot the ball that well.”

Benton Central (21-3) didn’t have that problem, especially from long distance. The Bisons hit 14 3-pointers in the game with four of them coming in the first quarter, when they went on their game-clinching run. Cassidy Deno had seven of those treys and a game-high 23 points.

“Cassidy and (Benton Central backcourt mate Caitlyn) Laura Tolen are all-stars in my book,” Marlow said. “And they played like it today.”

Rensselaer’s Laura Tooner is no slouch, either, and Benton Central knew that. The Bisons keyed on her the entire game, not allowing her to burn them early with her trademark 3-point shots.

Still, the senior scored 15 points with three 3-pointers in her final game with the Bombers, who were a surprise entry into the regionals after upset wins over Kankakee Valley and Hanover Central last week.

“We played our best and we gave it our all and that’s all I can ask for,” Tonner said. “I’m glad to be a part of this team no matter what. I’m just glad we won sectionals.”

Coming back next season for Rensselaer (16-8) is feisty 6-foot sophomore Emilie Ziese, who finished with seven points.

Deno finished with five 3-pointers for the Bisons and 13 points while Tessa Brouillette would also add 13.



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