St. Viator senior guard Taylor Skala was quietly going about her business for the first 20-plus minutes of Saturday night's East Suburban Catholic Conference girls basketball game against Nazareth.
There was nothing quiet about Skala's next seven minutes and 44 seconds in Cahill Gym in Arlington Heights. She scored all 18 of the Lions' points in that span en route to a game-high 22 as they pulled away to a 53-29 victory.
"Taylor was definitely on fire tonight and that helped out," said 6-foot-1 Viator junior Lauren Rooney, who had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
"I had a pretty slow first half," Skala said of making just 2 of 5 shots from the field and missing 4 free throws. "I figured I'd better step it up and that's pretty much what I did."
On both ends of the floor as Skala fueled Viator's newly installed active zone defense that helped force 29 turnovers. She finished 10-for-15 from the field, had a pair of 3-pointers and 6 assists.
"All of a sudden she erupted and we erupted," Viator coach Paul Bjerkness said of Skala extending a 31-18 lead to 49-25. "She's a pretty impressive player."
Rooney also made a strong impression in helping Viator (4-5, 1-2) to a 24-20 rebound advantage. Katie Calmeyn had 3 assists and Bjerkness also liked the play of Julia Frank, Tracy Supergran and Diana VanStedum.
Nazareth shot just 35.5 percent from the field (11-for-31) and 2-for-11 on 3s.
"Obviously (the zone) worked very well because it involves a lot of moving and we're a quick team with guards," Skala said.
"I thought we played pretty well," Rooney said. "It really helped to get an early lead and we didn't have to waste our effort chasing the other team."
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