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IMG4789   The Mater Dei Lady Knights got their season off to a solid start by claiming second place in the Alton Lady Redbird Classic last weekend.
   They started tournament play with blowouts over the Alton Junior Varsity squad and Springfield Southeast before falling in their final tilt with the host Lady Redbirds on Saturday night.
   The Lady Knights are now 2-1 on the season and they had three players earn All-Tournament honors in Lily Butler, Avery Trame and Maris Zurliene.
   They will host Edwardsville on Wednesday before playing at Waterloo on Saturday.
   “I was very impressed with our on-court attitude, energy and effort.  Our girls actions really reflected our ‘Only Jesus’ focus, which is the most important metric for us this season,” said Mater Dei head coach Craig Zurliene.  “I was amazed by our senior leadership and our underclassmen’s composure and confidence against stronger, extremely physical opponents.” 
   Alton 49, Mater Dei 36:  The Lady Knights fell behind early and never could get back into the game on Saturday against the Lady Birds.
   Alton ran out to a 17-9 lead in the first quarter before Mater Dei crept within 29-23 at the break.  Mater Dei outscored the Lady Birds 5-4 in the third quarter before Alton sealed the deal with a 16-8 run over the final eight minutes.
   Freshman Amelia Beer paced Mater Dei with 11 points while fellow freshman Lily Butler put in seven points.
   Alton got 16 points from Laila Blakeny on 5-of-10 from the floor to go with three steals.  Kaylea Lacey had seven points and 10 rebounds in the win.
   Mater Dei 56, Springfield Southeast 23:  The Lady Knights outscored the Lady Spartans in each quarter on Saturday afternoon in Alton.
   Mater Dei took a 12-9 lead in the first quarter before extending their lead to 28-18 at the break.
   The Lady Knights moved their lead to 42-20 after three quarters as the rout was on.  MD outscored the Spartans 14-2 in the final quarter.
   Maris Zurliene paced all players with a dozen points while Alexis Kampwerth and Avery Trame each scored nine points.  Lily Butler added eight points in a game where nine players reached the scoring column for MD.
   Mater Dei 43, Alton Junior Varsity 8:  The Lady Knights used a dominant defensive effort in their season-opening win over the Junior Redbirds on Friday night.
 
   While the MD defense was the story, the offense also saw nine players in the scoring column with 15 points coming off the bench.
   The Mater Dei defense forced 31 Alton turnovers in a contest where the Birds were just 3-of-24 from the floor, including them missing all seven of their three-point attempts.
   Meanwhile, the Lady Knights were led by Madison Eversgerd on both sides of the floor with seven points and six rebounds.  She was 3-of-8 from the field.
   Fellow senior Alexis Kampwerth also had seven points to go with two steals.  Freshman Amelia Beer added six points and three boards.
   Cora Meyer scored six points before going down with an ankle injury on the final play of the first half.
   Kampwerth got the Lady Knights rolling with a triple in the second minute of the contest before Ja’Kayla Steen got the lone bucket of the frame for AHS.
   Mater Dei scored the final six points of the first quarter with Meyer and Julia Korte having buckets down the stretch.  Alton turned it over 10 times in the first eight minutes.
   Eversgerd and Lily Butler started the quarter with buckets as they led 13-2 a minute and a half into the second quarter.
   Alton got a short jumper from Scarlett Eades for their only bucket of the second quarter as they trailed 13-4 with six minutes left in the half.
   Mater Dei scored the next dozen points to complete the half with buckets from five players as senior Avery Trame drained a three-pointer with MD leading 25-4 at the break.
   Mater Dei turned it over four times in the first half while the Lady Birds had 21 turnovers.  Meyer led all players with six points at the break for the Knights who were 10-of-29 from the field.
   Mater Dei got hot in the third quarter, hitting a trio of three-pointers with Kampwerth, Eversgerd and Julia Korte each dialing up long-range as the lead grew to 36-6 with 2:30 left in the third quarter.
   As the same in the first two quarters, Alton managed just one field goal in the third quarter, a bucket from Trista White, as they trailed 37-6 entering the final quarter with the running clock.

   All six of the Lady Knights’ fourth-quarter points came from the freshman duo of Beer and Butler.  Alton did not score a bucket in the quarter and went the final 12:30 without a field goal.