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Streamwood's Deja Moore drives to the basket past St Charles East's Kyra Washington on Tuesday. | Donnell Collins~For Sun-Times Media
With every blocked shot by Hannah McGlone and every point scored by guards Deja Moore and Jessica Cerda on Tuesday night, Streamwood’s girls basketball team inched a bit closer to the school’s first-ever outright conference championship.
The Sabres pulled out to a big lead twice, then hung on behind their top three players for a 62-53 road victory over St. Charles East to avenge their lone Upstate Eight River loss this season. The win sets up a showdown with second-place Geneva Friday.
“We stayed focused,” Sabres coach George Rosner said. “We lost it there a little bit, but then we came right back. We went right back to pounding the ball and getting good shots.
“And then our defense really kicked in again.”
Streamwood (16-5, 8-1) played strong defense all night, particularly McGlone. The 6-foot junior center blocked six shots, made four steals and deflected a pass to go with her 19-point, 15-rebound effort.
“I thought Hannah was an absolute monster on the boards,” Rosner said. “Hannah was our protector [defensively] when we fell apart there a couple times.
“Offensively, we’ve got three good people and they all had great games today.”
Moore had 20 points and Cerda 18, but because of St. Charles East’s refusal to quit, the Sabres needed everything they could muster offensively to maintain their one-game lead in the loss column over Geneva in the conference.
Amanda Hilton struck for 20 points and Carly Pottle for 14 for the Saints (12-11, 7-3). Hilton completed a four-point play and Pottle nailed a three-pointer in the fourth quarter as the Saints picked up the tempo and whittled what seemed an insurmountable 54-42 deficit to 56-53 with 2:10 remaining.
“I never question how hard we play, but we don’t always play smart,” Saints coach Lori Drumtra said. “That’s what kind of hurt us a little bit tonight. We did not do the basic things.”
Key among those was what happened after Cerda made 1-of-2 foul shots for a four-point Sabres lead with 2:04 left. The Saints rushed two shots, then got one blocked by McGlone and had to foul Moore.
Although she missed two free throws with the score 57-53, no one blocked out on the rebound and McGlone tipped it to Cerda, who was fouled and made two free throws. The Saints rushed up the court but Holly Foret then stole a pass to seal the win with 46.9 seconds left.
Earlier it had been the Sabres making big mistakes after they saw a 25-9 second-quarter lead wiped out completely when the Saints took a 27-26 lead 30 seconds into the second half. But they quickly worked on rebuilding the 12-point edge.
“We definitely got careless with the ball and threw away some passes in the first half after we had a big lead and then early in the second half, but coach Rosner talked to us in timeouts and at halftime and we gained control again and started to be more careful,” Cerda said.
The Sabres shot 30 free throws to the Saints’ six, but Drumtra was less upset about the foul discrepancy than her team’s 18 turnovers or 23-of-65 field goal shooting which resulted from rushed shots and McGlone’s intimidation inside.
“The turnovers came and we started to rush it,” she said. “We needed to realize we’ve got the momentum here, and let’s make them play a little defense.”