SHELBYVILLE, IL. — FARINA —Ava Paruleski had always declined to participate in postseason three-point contests, worrying that a bad performance might carry over to the game.
But Cowden-Herrick/Beecher City coach Carolyn Wendte convinced her senior point guard to compete in the three-point shootout prior to the Lady Hornets’ South Central Regional title game on Thursday, and Paruleski easily advanced to the sectional round by hitting 8 of 15 from beyond the arc, a salty 53 percent clip.
Turns out she was just getting warmed up.
Paruleski went on to shoot an even better percentage from long range in the game, nailing 6 of 9 from downtown — including 4 of 5 during a decisive 20-0 first-half run that blew the game open — as she went on to finish with 20 points in the Lady Hornets’ 72-37 victory.
“Tonight was a blessing for that kid,” Wendte said. “It was all happening for her from the start, and she was just feeling it. That 3-point shootout, what she thought was going to be a negative for her, it just turned out positive.”
Paruleski’s hot shooting helped CHBC (23-5) continue a pair of impressive streaks, as the Lady Hornets won their 12th game in a row and their fourth-straight regional title.
CHBC will move on to face NTC rival Dieterich at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Altamont Sectional in a sibling showdown between Lady Hornets coach Carolyn Wendte and Dieterich’s Donetta Ohnesorge.
Altamont’s gameplan was to try to contain CHBC all-state center Micah Jones with double and triple teams, and the Lady Indians’ executed it to a T in the first half, holding Jones to six points on 3-for-14 shooting.
But thanks in large part to a 17-point first half by Paruleski, it didn’t keep the Lady Hornets from building a 37-14 lead at intermission.
The Lady Indians (8-15) hung tough early, as a Madison Ohnesorge jumper had Altamont down just three, 13-10, late in the first quarter. But Paruleski countered with a 3 of her own, and she nailed three more from beyond the arc in the first three minutes of the second quarter, as CHBC suddenly found itself up 19 points.