Girls basketball: Annawan beats Sterling for Geneseo Tournament title

The Annawan Bravettes won the Geneseo Thanksgiving Tournament, defeating Sterling, 45-43, for the championship. Team members are (front row, left to right)
Brynn Harker, Clara Bella VanOpdorp, Aleigha Witte and Paige Sierens; (back row) coach Jason Burkiewicz, Olivia Goodley, Ella Anderson, Zoey Vance, Kaylee Celus, Elaina Manuel and coach Caitlyn DeMay.

Tiny Annawan came up big in the Geneseo Lady Leafs Thanksgiving Basketball Tournament.

Annawan, which has an enrollment of 93, beat four teams with an average enrollment of 651 for the championship, including Sterling (978 enrollment).

The Bravettes beat Sterling, 45-43, for the championship on Saturday. Annawan needed scoring from just four players to win with Bella VanOpdorp leading with 15 points and Kaylee Celus with 14 while Olivia Goodley (9) and Elaina Manuel (7) combined for 16.

In pool play, Annawan beat Rock Falls, 65-25, Sterling Newman, 67-35, and Geneseo, 47-39.

“It felt great to get out to a great start and win this tournament, because we have been nurturing this team for years now and the expectations have been to develop into one of our elite teams of the past,” Annawan coach Jason Burkiewicz said. “We have a ton of experience on this team and it’s showing in maturity on the floor. The girls know the expectations and are comfortable with pressure being a target.

“We just have to stay healthy and it’s going to be a fun season for Annawan.”

Zoey Vance, VanOpdorp, and Celus were all named to the all-tournament team.

It was Annawan’s sixth championship in the Geneseo tournament in 12 years, also winning in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2017. The Bravettes’ 2014 state championship team lost to Class 3A third-place finish Quincy Notre Dame in overtime in 2013 at Geneseo.