Bartlett's 45-38 girls basketball win over Lake Park Saturday night in Roselle was important to the Hawks on two fronts.
First and most importantly, it was the team's fourth win in five games and secondly, Bartlett's efforts in putting together a complete game made progress.
"We're very young and a lot of the kids are coming together for the first time," said Hawks coach Denise Sarna said. "Before tonight I saw bits and pieces of good things in games. I wanted to see bigger chunks of good things and I thought that happened today."
The most crucial big chunk occurred to start the third quarter for Bartlett (4-4, 1-0 Upstate Eight Valley). After leading 23-16 at intermission with the help of an 18-10 rebounding advantage, baskets by Alyssa Hernandez and Chantel Zasada gave the Hawks their first double-digit lead since midway through the second quarter at 27-16.
Seconds after Zasada's basket, Lake Park's Emily Duckhorn sank a shot to make it 27-18, but Bartlett got its double-digit advantage back and kept it until just more than two minutes remained in the game. The team was boosted by 7-of-14 shooting from the field during the third quarter.
Ally Giampapa led the Hawks with a game-high 21 points. Hernandez followed with 10 points and 11 rebounds, and Zasada had 9 points.
Giampapa said the key to Bartlett's success of late is the Hawks keep their eyes on the big picture.
"Everyone on the team is teachable and every game we try to get better," she said.
Like any team that hasn't played together much, time and games are the best medicines. Zasada said that's been the case for Bartlett.
"We're definitely getting better and working together as a team. We weren't used to the (team) chemistry early on," she said.
Lake Park fell to 0-8, 0-2 in the defeat. The Lancers trailed just 9-6 at the end of the first quarter and stayed within single digits of the Hawks for most of the second quarter.
Brianne Erri paced the Lancers with 11 points. Samantha Cummings had 10 and Duckhorn 9. Coach Andrea Miller said Lake Park is a work in progress.
"We're getting better. But our second halves are better than our first halves. There's not a lot of experience, but the girls are learning and there are flashes of good stuff," she said. "A couple of seniors are leading, Samantha Cummings and Tyshai Freeman. The team is buying into what we are trying to do. They have a great attitude and we'll get better as the season goes along."
Both teams return to action Thursday with Bartlett at South Elgin and Lake Park traveling to Metea Valley.