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Looks can be deceiving when it comes to Glenbard South.
Playing with a bench down to three healthy players, none of them post players, against a team with five 6-footers from a school more than twice Glenbard South's size, the Raiders nevertheless enjoyed an impressive 45-22 nonconference victory against visiting Downers Grove South on Thursday night.
"We just came out strong," junior forward Tomei Ball said. "Everybody was ready. We were playing defense really well. In the beginning our offense was a little shaky, but then we got into it. We just play 100 percent the whole game. High intensity."
"They're a powerful group when they play together," added Raiders coach Julie Fonda, who played just one senior and six sophomores. "For real. They played 32 minutes of full-court basketball tonight. Both ends of the floor executed. It was like a Christmas present for me."
The Raiders started to pull away in the second quarter, which ended with a Stefi Bazigos 3-pointer to send Glenbard South (11-3) into halftime with a 24-12 lead despite playing at times with nobody taller than 5-8 on the court.
"We can always count on Stefi to make 3s," Ball said. "We have a lot of people we can count on."
"It's a little frustrating," Mustangs coach Ellen O'Brien said. "I think we're a better team than we showed tonight. Gotta give them credit. They came to play and took us out of any kind of rhythm we might have had."
Shooting woes and turnovers were the problem for Downers Grove South (6-4). The Mustangs had 19 turnovers and made just 20 percent of their shots.
"We just didn't hit very well," O'Brien added. "I think we rushed our shots. Maybe their big-girl presence (6-3 Raiders sophomore Sydney Bauman) caused us some problems."
Bauman also caused some problems for the Mustangs when the Raiders had the basketball, scoring a game-high 12 points. Bazigos added 11 off the bench.
Glenbard South made it a rout in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Mustangs 13-2.
Senior Kirsten Zemke led Downers Grove South with 8 points.
It doesn't get any easier for the Raiders, who play another big school, Schaumburg, on Wednesday in the first round of the Wheaton North Holiday Tournament. The Raiders will be the smallest school by enrollment at the tournament.
"There's not going to be any time for letup," Fonda said. "When we have an opportunity to play teams that challenge us, we have to step up. We can't cower and think about all the things that can go wrong. We've got to execute and do the little things.
"Now we started off a little rocky, not being in the right spot for offensive purposes. But once they got it under control, the rest of the game everything went our way. A lot of hustle, a lot of heart, and that's what I expect out of them."
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