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Harlem Wins Girls' Basketball Christmas Tournament

December 17, 2012
Harlem High School



MACHESNEY PARK — In the waning seconds of Harlem’s 47-39 win over Sycamore in the finals of the 58th Harlem Girls Basketball Holiday Classic, coach Luanna Kish joked that they just won “an ugly-sweater contest.”

“You’ve got to lighten it up sometimes,” Kish explained. “It’s the holiday spirit, so why not? It wasn’t one of our best performances, but there are even winners in ugly-sweater contests.”

Harlem (9-2) looked its best just after Sycamore (5-6) did the same. The Spartans survived a scoreless first quarter, shooting 0-for-5 with 10 turnovers to wipe out a pair of early 10-point deficits.

“Once we made our first shot, we got in a rhythm,” Sycamore’s Bailey Gilbert (11 points) said. “After that, we boxed out and did things right.”

Sycamore scored 10 straight points to tie, but Danielle Schneider and Naquira Manigault answered with two quick baskets to give Harlem a 17-13 halftime lead.

“It’s discouraging,” Gilbert said. “When you finally get there, you feel like you did it.”

When Sycamore got within 17-15, Kelli Ludwig scored six points in 68 seconds to give Harlem an eight-point lead. When Sycamore drew even at 24, Schneider immediately hit a 3. When Sycamore took its only lead, 28-27, Kortney Borman and Naquira Manigault scored back-to-back to start a 15-4 run.

“When they tied it, it ignited our players and they showed what they can do,” Kish said.

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