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St. Charles North had an airtight alibi in capturing the Upstate Eight Conference River Division crosstown girls basketball game against St. Charles East: score the first 13 and the last 10 points of the affair.
St. Charles North sophomore post Liz McNally had the last of her game-high 21 points with a 3-point play with 50.6 seconds remaining to break the last of five ties in the North Stars' 51-44 victory over the Saints at home on Wednesday night.
"I think we had a really good vibe the whole game," said McNally, who also collected 10 rebounds and blocked 3 shots. "We were working so well together."
Laney Deckrow had her lone field goal of the night to give St. Charles East a 44-41 lead with two-plus minutes remaining, but Megan Booe dramatically altered the contest on the ensuing possession.
The senior guard, who had a 6-point personal run late in the third quarter to single-handedly reverse the North Stars' 3-point deficit, found nothing but nylon to tie the game at 44-44 with 1:30 to play on her second 3-pointer of the contest.
"I usually don't shoot that much," said Booe. "(The strategy was) space yourselves, find an angle and shoot the ball."
"(Booe) is one of the best competitors I have ever coached," St. Charles North coach Colleen Brennan said. "She plays to win all four quarters."
Ninety seconds later, the North Stars (4-7, 4-1) concluded their 10-0 run with Natalie Winkates' 4 straight free throws to complete the victory.
St. Charles East fell to 5-6 overall, 3-2 in league play.
The game could not have started in better fashion -- or more unscripted for the Saints -- for St. Charles North.
Ten consecutive misses from the field from St. Charles East to start the game enabled the North Stars to bolt out with the first 13 points.
Winkates' 3-pointer began the run that McNally concluded with 2 of her 8 points in the opening quarter.
Paige Jordan, the Saints' outstanding junior guard who led St. Charles East with 15 points, finally ended the dry spell with a driving bucket five minutes and 35 seconds into the game.
The Saints would make runs that are virtually inevitable in the sport, but their frigid 20 percent shooting (7-for-35) in the opening half left them trailing 23-19 at the break.
"The last two games our shooting has been very poor," St. Charles East coach Lori Drumtra said.
St. Charles East would ultimately take the lead on seven occasions in the second half, but Drumta said the energy her players expended to extricate themselves from the early double-digit deficit had a debilitating effect in money time.
"We made some bad decisions at the end of the game," Drumtra said. "I think it was fatigue."
Booe (11 points), Jerica Balousek (8 points, game-high 11 rebounds) and Winkates (7 points) combined for 26 points for St. Charles North.
Morgan Vyzral was in double figures for St. Charles East with 12, while Amanda Hilton narrowly missed with nine.