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Mater Dei    The Mater Dei Lady Knights had an up and down start to their 2021-2022 girls basketball season with two wins and a loss while in the process claiming second place at the annual Alton Lady Redbirds Tip-Off Classic last weekend.
    They started the season with a 2-point win over Springfield Southeast on Tuesday before falling to the host Redbirds on Friday night.
    MD ended tournament play with a rout of Jersey on Saturday afternoon.  The 2-1 Lady Knights are back in action this Wednesday when they play at Edwardsville High School in the O’Fallon Shootout and then on Monday at Alton Marquette.  
    Their first home game is on December 6 when they welcome in rival Central with a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.

    Mater Dei 49, Jerseyville 32:  The Lady Knights ended their weekend tournament in fine fashion with their rout of the Lady Panthers on Saturday in Alton.
    Mater Dei left no doubt by running out to an 11-4 lead in the first quarter before blowing it open with a 23-11 lead at the break.
    Mater Dei had 17 more points in the third quarter to extend their lead to 40-22 entering the fourth.
    The Lady Knights had seven players reach the scoring column with Kailynn Kruep, Alyssa Koerkenmeier, Maris Zurliene and Alexis Kampwerth each scoring nine points.  Avery Trame added a half dozen for MD.
    Alton 62, Mater Dei 49:  The Lady Knights had trouble dealing with the Redbirds’ quickness in MD’s loss on Friday evening.
    Mater Dei led throughout much of the first 12 minutes of the contest before Alton’s Alyssa Lewis caught fire.
    MD freshman Maris Zurliene hit for two early buckets while junior Alexis Kampwerth dialed long range for a 13-10 lead for the Lady Knights after the initial eight minutes.  The two teams combined for 16 turnovers in the first quarter with MD having 10.
    “We just have to take better care of the basketball,” said Mater Dei first-season head coach Craig Zurliene.  “It’s learning to deal with that pressure and we just have to keep playing these teams to get better at taking care of the basketball.”
    After a bucket from Kailynn Kruep and a free throw from Alyssa Koerkenmeier gave Mater Dei a 17-16 lead, the Redbirds went to work.
    Lewis hit a charity shot before draining a pair of 3-pointers to give Alton the lead at 23-17 with 3:20 left in the first half.
    Lele Gores added a triple for the Lady Birds as they enjoyed a 27-19 lead with two minutes left in the half.
    Mater Dei got free throws from Zurliene, Kruep and Madison Eversgerd to get within 27-24 with 55 seconds left in the half.
    “I don’t think we did a good job on defense whatsoever,” added Zurliene.  “I thought that they were able to get up the floor easily at the pace that they wanted to.  We had no answer for that.”
    Gore hit a free throw and Eversgerd hit a mid-range jumper with Mater Dei trailing 28-26 at the half.  Mater Dei had 18 turnovers in the first half where they were 7-of-13 from the floor and 11-of-19 from the line.  The half saw 25 turnovers and 24 personal fouls called.
    The third quarter saw Mater Dei turn the ball over four times and miss their first six shots as neither team scored over the first four minutes of play in the second half.
    Lewis broke open the scoring the second half with a charity shot before Mater Dei took a brief lead with buckets from Kruep and Cora Meyer as they led 30-29 with 120 seconds left in the third quarter.
    Alton’s Renee Raglin hit for a 2-pointer and a 3-pointer to spark Alton with a 37-33 lead entering the fourth quarter.  In a span of 6:30, MD had no field goals and just seven charity shots.
    Avery Trame drained a triple from the left wing to get Mater Dei within 37-36 just 30 seconds into the final quarter.
    Mater Dei went the next four minutes without a field goal while Alton got three buckets from Laila Blakeny to lead by as many as 11 points midway through the fourth.
    Koerkenmeier kept the Knights in the game with seven fourth-quarter points.  However, Alton hit 6-of-8 from the line to seal the victory.
    Koerkenmeier paced the Lady Knights with 12 points on 4-of-6 from the line and 4-of-8 from the floor while the freshman grabbed six rebounds.
    Zurliene had 10 points and seven rebounds while Kruep scored seven points and Trame ended with six.
    Mater Dei was 16-of-40 from the floor and 14-of-25 from the line with 29 turnovers.
    “It was the lack of defensive effort that beat us,” concluded Zurliene.  “With the way our defense is designed, we should be able to dictate the tempo of the basketball game.  But we didn’t do that tonight.”
    Lewis paced all players with 24 points for Alton who also got 16 points from Blakeny.  They were 19-of-56 from the floor that saw them drain 7-of-32 from the arc.  They were 17-of-25 from the line with 14 turnovers.
    Mater Dei 50, Springfield Southeast 48:  The Lady Knights got a stern test from Southeast in both teams’ Alton Tournament opener last Tuesday evening.
    The Lady Knights got off to a good start with a 15-11 lead after the initial eight before the Lady Spartans pulled within 24-22 at halftime.
    The Lady Spartans hung with the Knights in the third quarter, getting things evened at 33-33 entering the final quarter.
    Mater Dei outscored the Spartans 17-15 over the final eight minutes to secure the victory.
    MD junior Kailynn Kruep led eight Lady Knights scorers with 16 points while Maris Zurliene scored a dozen.  Avery Trame added nine points in the win for MD.
    The Lady Knights had 34 turnovers.