South Elgin girls basketball coach Tim Prendergast probably won't see a game the rest of the season where his Storm turn it over 23 times, shoot a 32 percent clip from the field and still come out victorious.
He also might not get to interrupt Hampshire coach Ed Haugens during his postgame interview insisting Ruth's Chris Steakhouse again, either.
Luckily, all smiles came from both coaches, which was a contrast of how the Storm and Whip-Purs played in the season opener for both teams Wednesday night.
In South Elgin's 48-40 win at Hampshire in a game that was a part of the Dundee-Crown Thanksgiving tournament, the Storm were the ones who coughed it up less, made more free throws and played better defense.
Senior Nell Wentling led the Storm (1-0) with 12 points and while junior Kennede Miller chipped in 9, all in the second half, as South Elgin staved off a Hampshire squad that although turned it over 30 times and shot 33 percent from the field but kept chipping away throughout.
"You expect that, I'm not happy about it," Prendergast said. "We've got to work on our team passing and ballhandling, it was sloppy. I thought we played good defense throughout the course of the game and that overcame our turnovers."
The teams combined for 53 turnovers and 16 missed free throws. Of the 88 shots attempted, only 29 were connected on. The good fortune for the Storm was that it jumped out to an 11-0 lead to start the game and that cushion seemed to be enough told resist the shock of a Whip-Pur comeback.
"It's the first game of the season, it's to be expected," said Miller. "We missed a lot of layups. I think it's because the speed in practice and the speed in the game is completely different so it took us a while to pick up but we got there. We'll be good on Friday. "
Once Hampshire (0-1) settled down after 7 first quarter turnovers, they Whips would tighten the gap to 1 on Tricia Dumoulin's layup with 2:51 left in the half. With the game tied in the final seconds, South Elgin's Cara Fahey (6 points, 2 steals) got a layup to go after a steal at midcourt, giving the Storm a 25-23 halftime lead.
Hampshire held with the Storm in the third, as leading scorer Jen Dumoulin (5 steals) chipped in 2 of her game-high 17 points from the free throw line, cutting the lead to 1 with 2:02 left. But after Miller drove toward the left baseline on the next possession, she scored an old-fashioned 3-point play to put the Storm ahead by 4.
"I think it gave us some momentum and really got the team going," Miller said. "Everyone started to realize they could do that because it was open all day."
Hampshire opened the fourth with consecutive turnovers and went nearly 6 minutes without a field goal. South Elgin's Amanda Behles (7 points, 4 rebounds) answered with the layup to make 40-32 with 6 minutes left and South Elgin sealed the game at the free throw line, where the Storm was 12 for 17.
"I expected a little bit of nerves, a lot of turnovers, and South Elgin's a nice team, this is going to be a great tournament, we're going to learn a lot about ourselves and right now," Haugens said. "It's taking care of the basketball. I know Hononegah (in the next game) is going to pressure us and make us work more. The turnovers were huge for us."
Hononegah 71, Huntley 44: Ali Andrews had 18 points and Sam Andrews had 13 but Huntley (1-1) fell behind 45-17 at halftime and couldn't recover in this Dundee-Crown tournament game.