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Lockport's Naomi Mayes (30) attempts to block Sandburg's Rachel Ruzevich (22) during Thursday night's game between Sandburg and Lockport. | Paul Bergstrom ~ For Sun-Times Media
In the arena of plausible excuses for a bad day at the office, Sandburg’s Ashley Youngwirth had a pretty good one for why the Eagles might have scored just 26 points in a loss to Lockport on Dec. 6.
“It was the day of a blood drive here (at school) and at least four or five of us had signed up to give blood,” she said. “We were a little faint that game.”
The only thing host Sandburg drained in the rematch Thursday were baskets — and plenty of them — in a 56-48 SouthWest Suburban Blue victory over the Porters.
Rachel Ruzevich had 24 points and six rebounds, Youngwirth 14 points and 11 rebounds and Carly Katalinic six points and five assists as the Eagles improved to 11-9, 4-4.
Anna Novak totaled 15 points and 10 rebounds, Naomi Mayes 12 points and Nora Polaski nine points for Lockport (7-9, 3-5).
It was a far cry from their first meeting, won 44-26 by Lockport.
“We came out ready to play (Thursday). We really did,” Ruzevich said. “We played really well as a team. We shared the ball well. We got the open person the ball. We wanted revenge, to say the least.”
The Eagles came out firing, hitting four of their first five shots. Among them was a three-pointer by Youngwirth, one of three she would swish in the opening period.
“I finally started clicking,” Youngwirth said. “My shots were off earlier in the season. (Thursday) was good. We came out fired up and we executed our plays well. It’s kind of a late start, but better late than never.”
Ruzevich seemed to have a paved path to the basket, especially early. Her fifth and final layup of the quarter made it 21-4 Sandburg. It was 23-9 at the break.
Lockport used a 7-0 run by Mayes to start the second period to reduce the deficit to single digits. It would get closer than that before all was said and done.
Novak’s three-point accuracy in the second half, along with another short flurry by Mayes, allowed the Porters to close to within four points on two occasions.
Both times Sandburg responded with a three-pointer, one by Ruzevich and another by Rachel Distor.
“I was very disappointed in our execution the first quarter,” Lockport coach Krista Peterson said. “To give up 23 points in one quarter and 24 points to one player (Ruzevich) is unacceptable.
“Sandburg just came out firing. They didn’t miss a whole lot of shots. I was proud of the fact that we came back and battled and got within four a couple of times. But at key points they hit some tough three-point shots and took some momentum off of things for us.”