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Streamwood's Deja Moore attempts to pass South Elgin defender Delaney Kelleher during their Regional Championship game Thursday evening in Streamwood. | Michael R. Schmidt ~ For Sun-Times Media
When Streamwood girls basketball coach George Rosner ascended the ladder Thursday to cut down the last strands from the net, a huge roar erupted from players and fans and seemingly washed away 25 years of Sabres frustration.
Streamwood dominated from start to finish in the championship game off its own Class 4A regional, beating South Elgin 54-34 to earn the school’s first regional title since Rosner coached Chris Francke, Donna Groh, and Renee Kanak to a sectional crown in 1988.
“It’s been a fast 25 years,” Rosner joked.
The win earned Streamwood a sectional title berth at Rockford East Monday at 7:30 p.m. against Friday’s winner between Crystal Lake South and Cary-Grove.
“Rosner deserves it, we all deserve it,” said Streamwood’s Chicago State-bound guard Jessica Cerda. “We all worked really hard for this all season.”
The Sabres got a team-high 15 points from Cerda, but 10 came in the fourth quarter. Much of the night they relied on their defense, rebounding, inside play from Hannah McGlone, and the overall play of guard Deja Moore to quickly dismantle Savanah Uveges and South Elgin.
“I thought Deja Moore was the best player on the court all game,” South Elgin coach Tim Prendergast said of the Sabres senior guard. “I thought she really jump-started them in the first quarter.
“It was just a combo of them playing really well and us not playing well at all. It felt like this game was over really, really fast.”
Moore finished with 12 points, but her 13 rebounds — including five on the offensive end — proved critical.
“It’s not new at all for me to rebound but I probably started rebounding more than normal,” Moore said. “When we sat here the night before and watched South Elgin play (in Tuesday’s semifinals) I noticed they rebound and they go hard.
“We got outrebounded that night by the Dundee-Crown Chargers and we were not going to let that happen again.”
The Sabres (21-8) jumped out to a 13-2 lead after a quarter and once they got it to 23-8 on Cerda’s only three-pointer of the night with 2:07 left in the second quarter, the lead never dipped below 12 again.
“I think our defense is what sealed the deal,” said McGlone, who had seven points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots. “We held them to eight points in the first half and it got us up. We were defensive-minded all night.”
Streamwood held South Elgin (17-12) to 1-of-15 shots in the first quarter and 15-of-56 for the game (27 percent) while winning the
battle on the boards 40-34.
“This was our best defensive game,” Rosner said. “We tried to take away their threes. That was obviously a big point. The aim was not to let them have clean looks, get out on them and contest.”
South Elgin had only one three-pointer, a fourth-quarter shot from freshman Nadia Yang. Kennede Miller led the Storm with nine points and Uveges and Kara Rodriguez had eight each.
South Elgin made a 5-0 spurt in the third quarter to close within 31-19, but after a timeout Moore made a layup, then a putback and it was all Sabres the rest of the game.
“Here’s how I sum up this game,” Prendergast said. “Any time George (Rosner) has 19 fist pumps in a game it’s not a good night.”
Rosner had a few more fist pumps when taking down the net and holding the championship plaque for the first time in 25 years. The Sabres had won four straight when they won their 1988 title.
“It’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years since I held one of these,” Rosner said.
“I’m so proud of these girls,” he added.