Gibault Catholic High School in Waterloo is set to host its annual Candy Cane Classic girls basketball tournament next week.
See the complete tourney bracket on page 3B.
Defending tourney champion Columbia looks to be the favorite to win again this year. The Eagles have won five games in a row to improve to 7-1 on the season.
On Monday, the Eagles defeated Salem, 36-23. The game was tied 10-10 after one quarter, but Columbia took control from there with 70 percent field goal shooting as a team.
Sophia Bonaldi scored 15 points and added five steals to lead the Eagles. Lexi Touchette added six points and nine rebounds.
On Saturday, Columbia won 49-39 over Carlyle. The Eagles shot 46 percent from the floor for the game. Bonaldi led the way again with 14 points and five steals, followed by Lindsay Wibbenmeyer with 12 points and Touchette and Aryn Henke with nine points apiece.
Columbia rolled to a 50-21 win Thursday over Wesclin. The Eagles led 27-15 at halftime. Bonaldi scored 15 points with seven assists. Touchette scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Henke added 10 points and six steals.
The Eagles play at Breese Central on Thursday before opening Candy Cane Classic play 7:30 p.m. Monday against Madison.
Bonaldi is averaging 14.3 points, 3.13 assists and 3.25 steals per game this season.
Gibault could pose a threat in the tourney if it puts all of its pieces together. The Hawks are 4-5 on the season following a couple of tough losses.
Poor free throw shooting has plagued the Hawks in the early going. The team is shooting just 42 percent from the charity stripe.
On Thursday, the Hawks lost 50-22 to New Athens despite a 14-point, six-rebound and four-block effort from 6-foot-1 junior center Ashlyn Wightman.
Last Tuesday, Gibault dropped a 47-34 contest to Chester. Wightman scored 24 points, grabbed nine rebounds and added five blocked shots.
Wightman is averaging 15.2 points, eight rebounds and 4.7 blocks per game this season. Sophomore point guard Maddie Davis is averaging nine points per game.
The Hawks play at Red Bud on Wednesday and at Metro-East Lutheran on Thursday before opening Candy Cane Classic play 6 p.m. Monday against Red Bud.
Waterloo (2-5) has dropped two straight after posting a thrilling home win last week.
The Bulldogs lost 60-29 at Mascoutah on Monday, shooting just 23 percent from the floor as a team. Aubrey Hubbard led Waterloo with 15 points.
On Thursday, Waterloo lost 71-14 to Civic Memorial. Haley Aldridge led the ‘Dogs with eight points.
Last Tuesday, Waterloo won 34-33 at home over Red Bud. An Ali Scace put-back and an Aldridge free throw put the Bulldogs up by three points late and they held on for the one-point victory. Aldridge scored 15 points for the Bulldogs, who open Candy Cane Classic play 6 p.m. Tuesday against Roxana.
Valmeyer (1-5) opens Candy Cane Classic play 7:30 p.m. Tuesday against Wood River.
The Pirates lost 64-31 at New Athens on Monday. Tinleigh Jakimauskas, a sophomore, scored 13 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for Valmeyer.
On Thursday, Valmeyer lost 56-10 at Lebanon.
In other local girls hoops action, Dupo (1-7) lost 45-24 to Lebanon on Monday. Octavia Heidelberg scored eight points to lead the Tigers.
On Thursday, Dupo dropped a 60-27 contest at Marissa. The Tigers trailed 17-0 after the first quarter. Maddie Esmon led Dupo with 13 points.
View a printable version of the Candy Cane Classic bracket by clicking here.