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PLAYING WITH PRIDE: Altamont defeats Peru (St. Bede) to capture third place at the Class 1A State Final Tournament

Mar. 1—NORMAL, Ill. — Grace Nelson made sure her last game in an Altamont jersey was memorable.

So did fellow seniors Peyton Osteen, Claire Boehm, and Brianna Grunloh.

All four had an impact in the Lady Indians' 64-56 win over Peru (St. Bede) in the third-place game of the Class 1A State Final Tournament on Thursday night at CEFCU Arena on the campus of Illinois State University.

The most notable performance came from Nelson, though.

The future Illinois State Redbird dropped 39 points on 12-for-22 shooting. She added nine rebounds, two assists, and one steal in 30 minutes.

Nelson ended her first trip to the state tournament with 71 points total. That number was good for the most by any 1A player in state history, passing Sophie Brunner of Freeport (Aquin), who scored 64 points in 2012. Nelson was also two points away from breaking the single-game scoring record, which is held by Grace Baalman of Hardin (Calhoun), and was set in 2017.

Nelson said she didn't know about either mark.

"No, I just played my game," she said. "I don't really care how much I score."

Nelson finished her senior year with 1,066 points scored. That puts her eighth all-time in the Illinois record book for most points in the season. She also finished her career with 2,862 points, good for 14th in state history.

Osteen finished her last game with 10 points on 3-for-4 shooting.

Heading to Lincoln Trail College in the fall on a volleyball scholarship, Osteen got to spend the last two games of her basketball career with her younger sister, Kylie under the bright lights of a collegiate arena.

She wouldn't have it any other way, either.

"Growing up, (basketball) is something we've really bonded over, so at the varsity level, going this far, getting to experience all of it together is so special and something that neither one of us will forget," Peyton said.

"It feels really good because we are best friends, and we've done everything together," Kylie added. "Just to play the sport that we both love, it means a lot."

Kylie did not score in the game but finished with one rebound, two assists, and three steals.

Grunloh had six points, and Boehm had two to round out the senior performances.

Junior Skylie Klein had five points, and sophomore Kaylee Lurkins had two.

Knowing that she has two more years left makes Lurkins want to push even harder to return to the state tournament.

"The goal was pretty high from the first day of practice. We always said we were going to end at (CEFCU) Arena," she said. "So, these next two years, we're going to miss our seniors, but Kylie and I, we're going to be the best leaders we can be because this is the goal."

Altamont trailed 20-17 after the first quarter and 30-29 at halftime.

"The fact that we didn't play well and were only down one, I think they felt good about that," Lady Indian head coach Craig Carr said. "We had a couple of kids make a couple of big plays right toward the end of the second quarter that kept us in it."

Nelson hit a pair of free throws, and Peyton Osteen made a 3-pointer to end the second frame.

Altamont then went on to outscore the Lady Bruins 22-11 in the third quarter. St. Bede bested the Lady Indians 15-13 in the final stanza.

Carr said that he was happy with his team's toughness after a heartbreaking loss in the morning to Glasford (Illini Bluffs).

"There were a lot of tears in that locker room after the first one because we knew we could have been playing Saturday morning," Carr said. "Incredibly tough to bounce back, but that just shows the character these kids (have)."

The Lady Indians finish the season with a 28-7 record.

Contact EDN Sports Editor Alex Wallner at 618-510-9231 or alex.wallner@effinghamdailynews.com.