An early roadblock did not detour St. Viator from its path to success Saturday night in the Dundee-Crown Girls Basketball Thanksgiving Tournament in Carpentersville.
The Lions turned extra opportunities off rebounds and turnovers into 75 percent of their points to give first-year coach Christina Jost her first victory at the school 48-28 over the host Chargers.
"It feels really good because we've improved after every game so far," said Viator senior Michelle Presslak after she had 12 points and 8 rebounds.
"I thought we played well as a team," Jost said after her team scored 26 points off 27 D-C turnovers. "It's finally starting to come together a little bit for us after two tough losses."
Viator (1-2) had a tough start as 3 of its shots were blocked by 5-foot-11 junior Emily Michalski and D-C (0-3) led 6-4 after a quarter on Lauren Lococo's baseline drive.
But 10 second-quarter turnovers by D-C sparked the Lions to a 20-12 lead at the break as Presslak scored 9 points. Michalski had only one more blocked shot in the final three quarters.
"The girls on this year's squad have a lot of fight in them," Jost said. "Nothing seems to deter them."
Viator also outrebounded D-C 17-4 in the second half to finish with a 35-25 advantage. Justice Johnson scored off 1 of her team-high 10 rebounds for a 26-14 lead with 3:45 left in the third.
"We brought what we worked on in practice here tonight and it showed," Presslak said after the Lions had a 16-7 offensive rebound edge.
"We struggled on the boards a little bit in the first two games," Jost said. "We're slowly getting to where we want to be with everybody boxing out and going to the ball."
D-C got within 26-18 when Michalski (6 points) found Stephanie Magsamen for a layup and Magsamen's steal led to Michalski's layup. But Erin Fabbri, who had 7 points along with Jennie Horstmann and Maddie McAteer, had a drive and a 3-pointer in an 11-point run which put Viator in command.
"We didn't come to play tonight," said D-C coach Michelle Russell. "(The turnovers) just kind of snowballed. We came out flat and this was just a learning-experience game."
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