EUREKA – Kennedy Dura (Edwards, Ill./Brimfield H.S.) led Eureka with 16 points, Samantha Sarnes (Havana, Ill./Havana H.S.) tacked on 15 points and the Red Devils led for all but 58 seconds Wednesday afternoon in a 72-66 non-conference triumph over Anderson at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena and Convocation Center.
Eureka did much of its damage at the free throw line, combining to go 23-for-29 as a team. Sarnes was perfect in six tries at the line and added six rebounds. Sierrah Seals (East Peoria, Ill./Metamora H.S.) added nine points and a team-high 10 rebounds. Dura distributed five assists and had three steals to share the team lead with Marissa Murphy (Canton, Ill./Canton H.S.).
Anderson scored the day's first points, but the hosts punched back with a quick 13-1 run en route to building a double-digit lead. The Ravens were held without a field goal for nearly six minutes, allowing Eureka to lead 20-11 after 10 minutes.
The Red Devils led by as many as 18 points in the second quarter, using a 21-10 run midway through the period. A layup from Ja'Keesha Hawkins (Peoria, Ill./Peoria H.S./Kankakee) extended EC's cushion to 41-23 at the 2:27 mark of the quarter. AU recovered to trail 46-32 at halftime.
A 7-1 run from the Red Devils, punctuated by Murphy's steal and fast-break layup at the 4:45 mark, allowed the hosts to claim a 55-37 advantage, but Anderson refused to go away. Eureka's lead was 59-44 at the end of the third quarter, but AU was able to carve its deficit to single digits (66-58) on Hannah Hawkins's layup with 3:02 left.
Anderson rallied all the way within 68-64 with 1:19 left, but Dura followed a timeout with an interior bucket for a 70-64 advantage in the final minute. Another basket from Hawkins made the score 70-66 with 38 ticks remaining, but the Ravens failed to score again. Olivia Falls (Bloomington, Ill./Bloomington H.S.) and Dura made foul shots in the final 24 seconds to set the final margin.
Eureka will have 10 days away from game competition before playing an exhibition contest at Division I Eastern Illinois on Sunday, Dec. 30 at 4:15 p.m. The Red Devils will jump back into regular-season play on Wednesday, Jan. 2 in a 5:30 p.m. tip-off at Webster in St. Louis, Mo.