Sparta's Emily Dilger takes the ball high towards the hoop during a shot. Dilger scored 12 points.
SPARTA — Jefferson Township High School defeated Sparta High School, 52-49, in the Girls Varsity Holiday Tournament, on Sunday at Sparta high School. The contest shaped up to be a thriller from start to stop. Jefferson and Sparta kept the score tight through most of the first half. When the second quarter concluded the Sparta Spartans edging the Jefferson Falcons 29-28. But Jefferson controlled the court in the third quarter widening the score gap and pushed ahead of Sparta 41-31 with a 1:08 left. In the fourth quarter Sparta came on strong and managed to tie the game 47-47 with a 1:18 left. Sparta outscored Jefferson 18-9 in the fourth quarter. As the final seconds wound down, Sparta's Brianna Falco launched the ball from almost half court just before the final buzzer sounded in desperation. The ball banked off of the back board and bounced around on the rim several times and failed to enter the basket before dropping to the hardwood to the sound of an audible gasp from spectators. Sparta's rally came up short allowing Jefferson to eke out a win. Ivana Tisma scored a game-high 21 points for Jefferson (2-5). Mackenzie Rock scored 10 points and Leah Demko scored 9 points. Ellen Villapando scored a team-high 14 points for Sparta (2-4). Emily Dilger scored 12 points and eight rebounds. Alexa Acker scored 11 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. — Photos by George Leroy Hunter