A shot away from perfection
Eagles win two but suffer heartbreaking loss at Hillcrest
Sandburg’s girls basketball team went 2-1 at this past weekend’s Hillcrest Holiday Classic, falling just a basket short of going undefeated.
Sandburg opened the tournament with a 47-46 victory over T.F North last Thursday, as Kate Ruzevich’s free throw with no time remaining lifted Sandburg in the first-round victory. The Eagles were led in scoring by Sam Youngwirth (15 points) and Julia Ruzevich (10).
Later that day, Sandburg played the host Hawks down to wire before being defeated 66-65 by a layup with two seconds left by Shayla Joyner in the second-round contest.
The Eagles were led by Youngwirth (20 points), Jessica Merino (14 points) and Victoria Stavropoulos (10 points, 10 rebounds).
Sandburg trailed 64-57 with 1:10 remaining when Merino turned a rebound into two fouls shots that began a seven-point game-tying burst.
With 11.1 seconds left, Stavropoulos canned two free throws for Sandburg, which rallied from as much as a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit to take the lead before Hillcrest’s last second heroics.
The team led 15-9 after the first eight minutes, converting inside with Ruzevich and from three-point range by Lauren O’Leary and Youngwirth. Hillcrest fought back, aided by a 15-6 to take a lead 37-27 lead at halftime.
The Eagles bounced back from the Hillcrest nailbiter to nip Lockport 42-39 in Friday’s fifth place contest. Stavropoulos (13 points), Youngwirth (12) and Kate Ruzevich (12) provided balance for Sandburg (10-5).
The Chargers went 1-2 at this past week’s Hillcrest Holiday Classic, defeating Bloom 64-48 and losing to Joliet Catholic 57-33 and Rich South 53-37.
Stagg started its day with a first round victory against Bloom. Hannah Henderson (a game-high 21 points, 4 assists, 4 steals) jump started the offense, scoring the opening three baskets of the game and nine points in the first quarter to help the Chargers to an 18-8 lead after eight minutes.
Mia DiGiacomo (16 points, eight rebounds) joined in the attack with six points of her own, and then added another seven points in the second quarter to stretch the lead 33-15 at the half.
Casey McMahon (10 points, six rebounds) took action in directing the offense and made two 3-point field goals, when the Trojans started packing their defense into the lane in an attempt to stop our dribble penetration.
“We were able to get to the basket, running our spread offense, using a variety of back door cuts to get some layups,” Stagg head Coach Bill Turner said. “The girls did a good job of being patient and getting high percentage quality shots.”
When some of those shots did not fall, Stagg’s rebounding advantage (37-25) allowed for easy put-backs and an eventual 50-24 advantage heading into the final period.
“The girls’ did everything they needed to do: defend, rebound, and take care of the basketball to increase the lead at the end of three quarters,” Turner said. “Megan Hearne and Megan Sullivan did a nice job on the boards with six rebounds each.”
Against Joliet Catholic Academy, Stagg was behind just 14-10 after the first quarter, on with DiGiacomo (11 points, 11 rebounds) leading the way with six points in the first quarter.
“Facing the No. 1 seed in the tourney was going to be a challenge in our second contest of the day,” Turner said. “Joliet Catholic is one of the top ranked teams (No. 2 in the Chicagoland area). Things were going pretty good for us early as Mia was a huge presence inside against a much taller opponent.”
DiGiacomo continued her strong offensive scoring and rebounding effort with a couple of more baskets in the second quarter, sandwiched around a Noor Elmosa’s three-point field goal to keep Stagg within striking distance at the half, trailing just 29-21.
The opening four minutes of the third quarter was the turning point in the game. Joliet Catholic turned up the pressure a little bit, forcing Stagg into a few turnovers that led to some easy baskets in transition. Meanwhile, the Lady Chargers could only muster up a three-point basket by Casey McMahon and a free throw for the entire quarter.
The deficit became 22 points, 47-25, entering the fouth quarter. Hannah Henderson and Kate Adams each had seven points, but the Chargers could never get any closer after the Angels run to open the second half.
“I thought the girls really competed against a quality team, holding a 33-30 rebounding edge, but their defensive pressure forced us into 24 turnovers, which resulted in uncontested lay-ups,” Turner said. “Our 9-for-36 shooting (25 percent) did not help matters either.
“That may be the best team that we will play this season. They are very long, athletic, and well coached.”
Against Rich South, Stagg was were unable to overcome a strong performance by the Stars, who shot the ball very well. DiGiacomo (12 points, six rebounds) and Hannah Henderson (10 points, five rebounds, four assists) again were the leading contributors to the Charger attack.
“Both players had a really good tournament all-around,” Turner said. “Our offense is struggling at times this season. This was our fifth game scoring in the 30’s. We have to do a better job of taking care of the basketball and value each possession.
“I think we are playing some pretty good defense, but we have to find scoring from some other players and our field goal percentage/free throw shooting percentage has to improve. I know this group will continue to work hard and find a way to be more consistent on offense in the second half of the season.”
Stagg is now 5-7 overall on the year and will next play a non-conference game at home against Lincoln-Way West on Friday.
The RedHawks went 2-2 at this past week’s Hillcrest Holiday Classic— defeating Oak Forest and Rich South and losing to Hillcrest and Joliet Catholic.
Marist opened the tournament Thursday with a 54-30 victory over Oak Forest. Tehya Fortune (16 points) and Lorna McCall (10) led the way.
In Thursday’s second-round the Redhawks edged Rich South 64-61 in overtime. Brooke Wyderski had 23 points, while Tehya Fortune (12 points) and Skylar Patterson combined to hit 7-of-8 free throws in overtime for Marist (8-4).
In the semifinal on Friday, the RedHawks ran into a buzz saw, dropping a 71-48 decision to undefeated Joliet Catholic. Tehya Fortune finished with 20 points for Marist (9-5).
Already working with an 18-8 advantage through one quarter, Joliet Catholic exploded in the second period. In forcing eight turnovers and limiting Marist to just 3-of-13 shooting, the Angels went on an extended 18-0 run going into halftime with a 46-16 lead.
On Saturday, the RedHawks losing streak reached two, as they dropped a 71-59 defeat to the host Hawks in the third-place game.
The Mighty Macs captured a 56-54 quarterfinal victory over Barrington at Friday’s Dundee-Crown Tournament. Molly O’Malley poured in 17 points to boost Mother McAuley. Raven Willis (four rebounds) added 15 points for the Mighty Macs and Elizabeth Nye (four rebounds) scored 11.
In Saturday’s semifinal contest, the Mighty Macs were edged by New Trier 47-43. Molly O’Malley scored 11 points to lead Mother McAuley (11-3).
Later Saturday, The Mighty Macs were edged by New Trier 47-43 in the second semi-final contest. New Trier used a 21-point second quarter to grab a seven-point halftime advantage, as McAuley committed 19 turnovers.
With 4:20 left in the game, the Mighty Macs used a 10-0 run to cut the deficit to one. The Trevians responded with a 6-0 run to reclaim the lead as McAuley would get no closer than two points the rest of the way.
Junior forward Erin Drynan finished with a team-high 11 points for Mighty Macs (11-4). She added two blocks.
The Lady Astros came up empty in four contest at this past week’s Medieval Classic, dropping to 2-13 in the process.
Shepard opened up the tournament on December 23 with a 60-18 loss to Lincoln-Way East. The team was led by Dae Jae Williams (six points). Williams scored 14 points, Heather Banis had 13 points and Courtney Dalton’s added 10 in a 59-48 setback against Andrew last Thursday.
On Friday, the Lady Astros dropped a 53-19 decision to Minooka and on Saturday were edged by Plainfield South 47-43. Abby Newsome led Shepard with eight points on Friday, and Dalton tallied 12 points on Saturday.
The Lady Knights split a pair of games at this past week’s Lisle Tournament — Losing to Coal City 54-43 last Thursday and defeating Mt. Assisi 50-44 on Friday.
Kaycee Pittman scored 19 points and Anna Persenaire (eight rebounds) added 10 to carry Chicago Christian (2-9) on Thursday. Pittman had 17 points to lead a balanced attack for Chicago Christian (3-9) on Friday. Abbie Bulthuis added 13 points for the Knights and AnicaPausma scored 10 against Mt. Assisi.
Queen of Peace
The Pride dropped three games at the Hillcrest Holiday Tournament: Losing to Bolingbrook 53-3 on Thursday, Rich Central 42-23 on Thursday and Seton 49-18 on Friday. Jelyn Chua led Queen of Peace with nine points against Rich Central.