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O'Keefe's big game lifts Granite City past visiting league rival Collinsville

December 19, 2012
Collinsville High School

Granite City-Collinsville girls basketball, Natalie O'Keefe
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GRANITE CITY • Call it a triple-double hat trick for  Natalie O'Keefe.

The 6-foot-2 Granite City senior had the third triple-double of her career  Tuesday night, picking up 24 points, 15 rebounds and 11 blocks in a 52-38 win  over Collinsville. The host Warriors improved to 6-3 overall and 3-2 in the  Southwestern Conference.

"Offensively, we run through her and, defensively, it starts with her  protecting our basket," Granite City coach Raffi Karibian said. "She just gets  better every game."

Granite City was coming off a 55-8 loss to Edwardsville on Thursday, but the  Warriors bounced back in impressive fashion.

"We all wanted to play really hard and win this game after Edwardsville,"  O'Keefe said. "We brought the ball up the floor better. I just wanted to do  whatever it took to win."

Collinsville (5-5, 2-2) got within seven points late in the game, but the  Kahoks couldn't overcome an ugly first half in which they were 5-for-30 from the  field.

"We just weren't very good," Collinsville coach Lori Billy said. "We decided  that it was easier to play soft. Everything we talked about doing, we just  didn't do."

A layup by O'Keefe gave Granite City a 9-0 lead with 2:05 remaining in the  first quarter. Collinsville, meanwhile, missed its first 10 shots and didn't  score until Katie McCarthy got a basket with 1:12 to play in the quarter.

The Kahoks' woes continued in the second quarter, as a 3-pointer by Lindsey  Levault put Granite City ahead 21-6 with 3:46 remaining. The score was 25-11 at  halftime.

A 3-point play by O'Keefe gave Granite City its biggest lead, 37-19, with  6:56 remaining in the third quarter.

"She was already a strong rebounder last year and she was an excellent  defender and shot blocker, but her offensive game has stepped up," Karibian  said. "She realized she had to score more for us with the loss of Paige  Luehmann, who averaged 14 points a game and was an all-stater."

Collinsville pulled within 45-38 on a 3-pointer by Lexie Thompson with 36  seconds left in the fourth quarter, but it was too little, too late for the  Kahoks.

"There are no excuses for us," Billy said. "(Karla) Halde is running a fever  and I've got three other kids (with flu symptoms), but that's too bad. We've got  to play."

Thompson had a team-high 13 points for Collinsvile, including three treys in  the fourth quarter.

With 10 points, Tatiana Wartenbe was the only other Granite City player in  double figures.

"The other girls are coming around," Karibian said. "Sydney Schaus made some  big shots, Tatiana also had four assists and some big free throws down the  stretch. Malori Meador didn't score a lot, but had nine rebounds and Catherine  Jakich gave us a lot of different things."


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