Geneva forward Kelly Gordon summed up Crete-Monee's full-court pressure defense best by saying "they seemed to be everywhere."
That was certainly the case in the second half of Wednesday's title game of the Glenbard East Rachel Bach Tournament, which 5-0 Crete-Monee won 57-52. The Warriors wiped out a 25-21 halftime deficit in large part by pressuring Geneva (3-1) into 16 second-half turnovers.
The Vikings had big games from all-tourney selection Morgan Seberger (11 points) and from Gordon, who led the way with 14 points and 13 rebounds. But after guard Michaela Loebel suffered a leg injury in the second quarter and did not return, the Warriors proved to be just too tough to handle on this night.
"It was a really physical game with a lot of pushing back and forth. They were very athletic and very quick and they seemed to be everywhere," said Gordon, a 5-foot-9 forward who more than held her own against a Warrior frontcourt that features a trio of 6-footers. "This was our first true test of the season and without Michaela everyone had to step up tonight."
For much of the night the Vikings seemed to more than hold their own against Crete-Monee, jumping ahead 16-9 after one quarter behind 8 points from Loebel and clinging to leads of 25-21 at the half and 38-35 after three quarters. But the Warriors picked up the pace with their full-court traps midway through the third quarter and the Vikings eventually buckled under the heat.
Crete-Monee guard Alexia DeBose scored 18 of her game-high 20 points in the second half on her way to all-tourney honors, while tourney MVP Marsha Howard added 9 points, 4 offensive rebounds and a steal.
Then there was 6-foot freshman guard Sarah Humphrey, who after a quiet first half, came away with 4 timely steals down the stretch and added 7 points and 2 blocked shots.
"We've worked a lot on pressure to this point and we like to use our press to get us some quick baskets," first-year Crete-Monee coach Christina Cobbins said. "We planned to take away No. 22 (Seberger) because she's a sharpshooter, and even though it's early, we're pleased with what we've seen and with the team's work ethic."
The Warriors closed out the third quarter with baskets from DeBose and Lindzy Cox to close to within 38-35, and then drew even on a 3-pointer from Humphrey to open the fourth quarter. Vikings center Sidney Santos did her best down the stretch, scoring 8 of her 10 points in the fourth quarter before Geneva came up just short.
"Their pressure just got to us, and we didn't perform under the pressure they handed to us," Geneva coach Sarah Meadows said. "Michaela getting hurt didn't help us. She's a huge role on our team and she just keeps us calm."