The Ell-Saline Cardinal girls’ basketball squad saw its season draw to a close Monday night, falling to the Bennington Bulldogs 51-34 in a 2A quarterfinal round matchup.
The Cardinals’ regular season finale came all the way back on February 18th, and the 13-day layoff did the team no favors as Ell-Saline (3-18) looked sluggish out of the gates, committing nine turnovers in the first eight minutes to help propel Bennington (14-7) to a 14-6 lead after the first quarter.
After falling behind 24-8 with less than two minutes remaining before halftime, the Cardinals snapped back into it, closing out the half with five consecutive points to pull within 11 at the break.
Ell-Saline continued to fight its way back into contention throughout the third quarter, scoring 16 points to narrow the Bennington advantage to eight points by the end of period. However, the comeback took its toll on the Cardinals as Ell-Saline ran out of gas down the stretch. The Bulldogs were clutch from the foul line in the final frame, going 8-for-11 from the stripe in the fourth quarter to pull away late for the 17-point victory.
Bennington was led by an excellent effort from senior Chloe Stanley. Stanley forced numerous Cardinal turnovers on the defensive end while pouring in 16 points on the night to lead all scorers.
Ell-Saline was paced by junior Brynna Rowley, who continued her late-season surge with ten points in the losing effort.
SCORE BY QUARTERS:
Ell-Saline 6 7 16 5 – 34
Bennington 14 10 13 14 – 51