The first four letters of Elk Grove's leading scorer on Saturday night spell "solo."
But it was hardly a solo act that got the Grenadiers girls basketball team a hard-fought 32-27 victory over visiting Hersey.
Junior Melissa Solorio, who scored a team-high 11 points, will be the first to tell you it was the Grens' team effort, especially on defense, that raised their record to 7-4 and 2-1 in the Mid-Suburban East.
"We played with heart," Solorio said. "The main thing is that defense basically won the game for us."
Solorio's 3-pointer gave Elk Grove a 30-21 cushion after three quarters.
Although Diamond Boyd's layup with 1:15 left in the game were the Grens' only points the rest of the way, the hosts limited Hersey to a driving layup and 2 free throws by Morgan Harris in the first three minutes of the final quarter.
"A lot of their players were quicker than us," said Boyd, who collected 10 points, 15 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 assists. "So we all helped each other out on defense.
"We always talk about how we have to communicate on defense and that's what we did this game. It was really a good team effort."
Elk Grove's biggest leads were 24-15 and 27-18 but Hersey kept cutting into the deficit the rest of the way. The Huskies got to within 3 points (30-27) with five minutes left.
"A lot of that was Morgan (Harris) taking nice initiative on offense," said Hersey coach Mary Fendley.
Harris scored 9 of her 14 points in the final 11 minutes. Senior Erica Hill chipped in 6 points for the Huskies (5-5, 1-2).
"When we got to within 3 points (30-27 with five minutes), we had four possessions where we just couldn't get a shot to fall," Fendley said. "But the story of the game is that they were physically stronger. They were chasing down rebounds on us just physically outmuscled and out-rebounded us."
Solorio played a key role on the boards with 6 rebounds while also hitting her big 3-pointer. Teammates Kelly Naughton, Kari Czeszewski and Boyd also had 3-pointers.
"We were not finishing defensively with rebounds," Fendley added. "It's hard to win that way when they keep shooting until they score.
"But I liked that we had chances at the end. Some of our kids might have been a little too tentative offensively but I don't fault our effort."
Elk Grove coach Kathie Swanson said the Grens must work on decision-making.
"But I thought we showed a lot of composure at the end," she said."We were taking what they gave us. We knew they were going to focus on Diamond so we had to get open looks for the other kids.
Hersey is very disciplined and has a great program. It was a matter of us communicating and talking on defense. It wasn't our offense that won the game, it was our defense."