Despite trailing by nine points heading into the fourth quarter of Monday night’s girls basketball game at home against Canton, the East Peoria Lady Raiders made a concerted effort to win the game.

However, East Peoria(3-14) ultimately fell a little bit short, losing 44-38 to the Lady Giants in the opening game of the Washington Teamworks Invitational.

The Lady Raiders used a 14-7 run in 6:43 in the fourth quarter, capped off by a Remi Ferguson layup, to get within two points at 38-36 with 1:13 left in regulation.

In that stretch, Taryn Carpenter had all seven of her points in the contest for East Peoria.

“I’ve been practicing my shot a lot recently,” Carpenter said. “I’ve been thinking that every shot is going to go in and if I get it, I’m going to shoot the ball.”

Canton was able to hold off East Peoria in the final moments, converting on two baskets and going 2-for-2 from the free throw line to earn the victory.

East Peoria started the game on the upper hand.

The Lady Raiders used an 8-4 run to open the game for a 12-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.

East Peoria’s early success started with defense, throwing Canton off by switching between zone and man-to-man defenses frequently.

“I was pleased with first half defensively,” East Peoria coach Khassandrae Brown said. “We were switching up our defenses and having good success with that.”

The second quarter was tightly contested, with the Lady Giants outscoring East Peoria 9-8, giving the Lady Raiders a 20-16 halftime advantage.

“In the first half we didn’t play with much energy at either end of the floor,” Canton coach Layne Langholf said. “East Peoria had us on our heels and we were not getting many rebounds.”

Canton changed tactics defensively after the break.

The Lady Giants used a full court press, forcing Easy Peoria into ten turnovers in the third quarter.

Because of the turnovers, the Lady Raiders managed to score only two points in the third, allowing Canton to gain a 31-22 lead.

East Peoria went almost seven minutes without scoring.

“Coming out of halftime we always talk about the first three minutes and how it is going to dictate how the rest of the game is going to go,” Brown said. “We didn’t show up in the third quarter and we didn’t match (Canton’s) intensity.”

The Lady Giants’ new strategy at halftime worked.

“At halftime we talked about holding (East Peoria) to single digits in the third quarter,” said Langholf. “Our press was very successful and led to a lot of layups and we finished them.”

Cassidy Fawcett led Canton with 13 points. No other Lady Giant scored in double figures, but eight players scored in the game.

Ashley Emert (12 points) Ferguson (9 points) and Peyton Dearing (8 points) led East Peoria in scoring.

“We played really hard at the end of the game and the girls were picking each other up,” Brown said. “That’s good to see.”­