Lady Jackets’ season ends in 2022 IHSA Class 2A Regional

By Jim Beers, contributing writer

   CHESTER — A very exciting and successful Chester High School Lady Jacket’s Basketball season came to an end Saturday February 12 when Chester had to travel to Belleville for the first round of the 2022 IHSA Class 2A Regional Basketball Tournament. 


Chester High School senior, Alyssa Seymour, played her final game in a high school uniform Saturday February 12 when the Lady Jackets took on Belleville Althoff in the 2022 IHSA Class A Regional.  Seymour led her team in scoring and rebounding against Althoff with 13 points and 13 rebounds.  Jim Beers Photo


The Chester girls, seeded No. 10 faced Belleville Althoff Catholic No. 9 at 1:00 p.m. in the Freeburg Regional which was a part of Sub-Sectional B.  It was Game No. 30 for the Lady Jackets and CHS came into the game with an overall record of 14-15 and a Cahokia Conference, Illinois Division final record of 4-6.


Head Coach Clint Cowan said, “Coming into today’s game I realize that our girls do not usually play well on Saturdays and that we don’t play well in the early morning or afternoon games. 


Likewise we know that Belleville Althoff Catholic has a full roster that is quick and plays well together.  We have our seven girls that play hard and never give up, but we just came off of a really emotional and hard-fought “Senior Night” game just the day before yesterday and we haven’t really had time to rest and recuperate.”


“I know our players will play hard and give it all they have.  They are fighters and look out for each other.  They leave it all on the floor at the end of each game.  I really feel that we have a good chance to win this one and advance to Round 2 in the Regional Semi-Finals to face No. 1 Freeburg.”


The Jackets played both Althoff and Freeburg earlier in the season.  Chester faced Freeburg during the first week of the 2021-22 season in the Sparta Invitational Tournament.  It was Chester’s second game of the year on Friday November 19.  The Lady Midgets beat the Lady Jackets, 58-31 in that meeting.


CHS faced Belleville Althoff in the final game of the 2021 Red Bud Christmas Tournament on Thursday December 30. It was the Jacket’s 17th game of the season.  The Crusaders defeated the Lady Jackets, 49-27.  At that time Chester was 7-10 overall and 1-3 in the Cahokia Conference.


1st Quarter, Althoff 18 – Chester 17


The Regional game started off very competitively with four lead changes and one tie. Chester drew first blood in the opening 15-secods when Kailyn Absher connected for two points.  Althoff answered 15-seconds later to tie the game 2-2 at 7:30.

Alyssa Seymour hit a shot at 6:54 to retake a YellowJacket lead, 4-2. Ten seconds later Jazzi Merideth committed the first foul of the game and Althoff made 1-of-2 free throws to get within one point, 4-3.  At the 6:00 mark Althoff scored a bucket to take the Crusader’s first lead of the game, 5-4.


After a Chester turnover, Althoff scored again to lead, 7-4 at 5:46.  In the next minute Chester would turn the ball over two more times and commit the second foul of the game.  Lady Jacket coach, Clint Cowan then called a time out 4:50.

Following the time out the Jackets blocked a shot and took a charge from Althoff.  The ball went back to Chester and at 4:13 Alyssa Seymour connected on 1-of-2 free throws to bring the Jackets within two points, 7-5.


Althoff and Chester traded baskets during the next two minutes.  Alyssa Seymour hit two baskets in that stretch and CHS still trailed Althoff by four points, 11-7 with 2:53 remaining in the first quarter.


Chester used a 5-0- run to retake the lead, 12-11, on another Alyssa Seymour basket and a 3-pointer by Camrynn Howie at the 2:20 mark.  On Althoff’s next possession they re-took the lead, 13-12 at 2:14. 


Rylie Conley committed her first foul of the game at 1:53 and Althoff made 1-of-2 free throws to extend the lead to 14-12.  The Crusaders scored again at 1:21 to lead, 16-12.At the 1:00 mark, the Crusaders turned the ball over and Chester took advantage of the error and scored on yet another Alyssa Seymour bucket.  Chester trailed by two points, 16-14.

With just 26-seconds to play in the period, Althoff struck again for two more points to extend their lead to 18-14.  With the clock ticking down, and just 8-seconds to play, Chester’s Rylie Conley drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to end the first quarter down by just one point, 18-17. 


In that exciting, action-packed quarter, Alyssa Seymour led the Jackets with nine points.  Camrynn Howie and Rylie Conley each hit 3-pointers and Kailyn Absher knocked down a bucket.


Althoff used a six-man effort including 4-points from Peterson, Brewer, and Travnicek, three points by Lester, two points from Distler and one point by Roper.

2nd Quarter Althoff 37 – Chester 23


The second quarter started just like the first quarter ended with both teams scoring right away in the opening minute of play.  Chester drew first blood again and re-took the lead, 19-18 in the opening 24-seconds.  Eight seconds later Althoff scored to re-take the lead, 20-19.


The Crusaders then exploded for a huge 13-0 run in the next 4:30 to take a 14-point lead, 33-19 with 3:10 to play in the first half. 


Chester’s Rylie Conley broke the curse by draining a 3-pointer at the 2:02 mark to narrow the Crusaders’ lead to 33-22. In the closing two minutes, Chester held Althoff to just two free throws, but the Crusaders also fought hard and allowed just one point on a Chester free throw by Emma Diskey.


The Crusaders took the air out of the YellowJackets’ sails with a 19-6 second quarter scoring spree.  At halftime, Althoff led by 14 points, 37-23.


Throughout the entire first half Belleville Althoff played with confidence, aggressiveness, and quickness.  The YellowJackets, on the other hand were tentative and played with caution and hesitancy.  Althoff had fresh legs in the game all of the time, while Chester had to manage its game plan with just five starters and two young players on the bench.

3rd Quarter Althoff 52 – Chester 34


After the halftime break, the Lady Jackets came out and played with a bit more confidence and drive. The result was an improved  third quarter. Althoff outscored Chester, 15-11, in the third, but the difference was just four points in third quarter scoring. 


Belleville scored first at the 7:30 mark to lead, 39-23. Kailyn Absher gave CHS another points on making 1-of-2 free throws and Chester trailed, 39-24. With 5:46 remaining in the third quarter Althoff scored again to extend to lead to 41-24.  Alyssa Seymour answered with a bucket to give Chester two more points, 41-26. Althoff returned the favor and scored again to lead, 43-26.


Chester’s Jazzi Merideth committed a foul at 4:34 and Belleville missed the first free throw, but made the second to extend their lead to 44-26.  Chester missed their next shot and Althoff scored off the opportunity to extend the lead again, 46-26, on the 5-0 run.


Althoff turned the ball over on their next possession, and committee a foul on the next possession.  The Althoff coach then called a time out at the 3:02 mark. During the next minute Chester scored three points as Kailyn Absher made 3-of-4 free throws and pulled within 17 points, 46-29, at the 2:51 mark.


To finish the quarter, Althoff went on a 6-5 run.  Chester’s Rylie Conley hit a three at 1:59 to bring the Jackets within 16 points, 48-32, but Belleville answered with two buckets to extend to 52-32.


Chester’s Alyssa Seymour was fouled in the act of shooting at the buzzer.  With nobody else on the court, she shot two free throws after the buzzer and made both.  Althoff led, 52-34 after three quarters of action.


Althoff 67 – Chester 36.


A much drained Lady Jacket squad took the court following the 3rd quarter break to start the fourth quarter.  The result was a 15-2 fourth quarter Althoff run to finish the game.  Chester’s Seymour scored the only two points of the final period at the 3:50 mark with CHS trailing, 65-36. 

The final minutes of the game was played with a continuous clock since Chester was down by 30 points. Althoff won the game, 67-36 to advance to the Regional Semi-Finals.

In the loss, Chester was led by just one player in double figures.  Alyssa Seymour scored 13 points and also led the team in rebounds with 13.  Rylie Conley had nine points and Kailyn Absher added eight points. Camrynn Howie recorded three points and dished out seven assists. Emma Diskey rounded out the scoring with three pints on a field goal and one free throw.


Coach Clint Cowan said, “This was a tough game for us.  We couldn’t get anything going and we couldn’t stop them defensively.  Hats off to Althoff. They have one heck of a team!”


“This season is one I will never forget! This group of seven girls worked hard the entire season. We had ups and downs, but we got through it!”


“Seymour and Absher will be missed. I wish them nothing but the best in their future plans.”


“I am looking forward to year two. We have a solid group of girls returning and it looks like we are going to have decent numbers next year. This season has been a great run and I truly believe we have started building the foundation for a program that can be respected throughout the state.”