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Maine East withstood a late Glenbrook North rally, holding on to beat the Spartans for a second straight meeting, 54-46 on Thursday.
After splitting a pair of 13-point decisions in November, the teams played another physical matchup. The Blue Demons held the Spartans to 18 points in the first half, but then watched their once-comfortable lead dwindle to six points with less than three minutes to go. However, Glenbrook North didn’t have enough left.
“It was fun,” Maine East coach Karol Hanusiak said. “This was the third time playing them and it’s hard. They know your game and you know theirs. But we played good defense and it was one of our most patient offensive games of the season.”
Patience wasn’t an issue for junior Shaylee Sloan, who finished with 22 points. At 5-foot-11, Sloan was dominating inside, providing an alternative to the sharp outside shooting by junior Jazlene Gonzalez, who had 16 points.
Sloan, who said she had been struggling the past few games, said the key was a different mental outlook and that she knew early it was going to be one of those games - real early.
“I just can’t get down on myself when the shots aren’t falling,” Sloan, who hit seven of her first eight shots said. “But I was feeling it all day. I was ready to play from first period (of school).”
Senior Morgan Zivin led Glenbrook North with nine points - all in the second half - while Rachel Dress and Alena Marovitz each added eight. The Spartans struggled to keep up with the speedy Gonzalez and the defensive pressure of Janelle Alba Garner.
“We made a few runs, but we just couldn’t dig ourselves out of it,” Dress said. “We need to have the energy to go beyond.”