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The Jacobs girls basketball team couldn't have picked a better time to pick up its first win of the season.
Merry Christmas, Golden Eagles.
Jacobs took rival Dundee-Crown's best shot, then came back with some good shots if its own as the Golden Eagles downed the Chargers 45-40 Friday night in Fox Valley Conference Valley Division action at D-C.
"That's part of the culture that's growing in the girls basketball program at Jacobs," said first-year Eagles coach Joe Benoit of his team's perseverance in Friday's win. "I'm having a great time and I'm proud of the kids. They're working hard every day and they don't quit. They're a pleasure to coach."
Jacobs (1-12, 1-3) fell behind the Chargers 8-2 but then went on a 7-0 run to take a 9-8 lead midway through the first quarter. From that point neither team had more than a 5-point lead until Jacobs opened things up in the final four minutes.
Senior Tori Tamburrino had a monster night for the Golden Eagles, scoring 18 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. She scored on 5 offensive putbacks as the Eagles outrebounded Dundee-Crown 33-27, including 10-6 in offensive rebounds.
"We've had too many close games we could have won if we'd box out better," said D-C coach Michelle Russell, whose team fell to 1-10 overall and 0-3 in the Valley.
The Chargers trailed 27-23 at halftime after Jacobs scored the final 8 points of the first half including back-to-back baskets by Nicole Cook, one of them a 3-pointer, and an offensive putback from Tamburrino.
"We've been putting in a lot of hard work at practice," said Tamburrino. "It was a blast to play against old friends. We started focusing better and our shooting started coming around. Dundee-Crown did a lot of hard work. They played great defense."
Dundee-Crown came back in the third quarter to forge a 31-31 tie going into the final period, and then grabbed a 33-31 lead on Jordan Bartlet basket 35 seconds into the fourth quarter.
But sophomore Jennifer Barnec (9 points, 7 rebounds) scored to tie the game and Tamburrino grabbed yet another offensive rebound and put it back for a score with 5:11 to play in the game that put the Eagles ahead for good, 35-33. Jillian Weichmann made a free throw at 5:05 to make to 35-34, but Jacobs used baskets from Kelly Grady, Tamburrinio and Barnec to open up a 41-34 advantage with 3:33 left. The final score was as close as D-C would get after that. Jacobs finished the game shooting 18-for-47, while D-C was 17 of 45.
"They jumped out to that big lead on us and it would have been easy for an 0-12 team to pack it in but they don't do that," Benoit said of his team. "They work hard and they deserve this."
Lauren Lococo led the Chargers, who played through foul trouble all night, with 14 points and 7 rebounds, while Bartelt added 8 points.
"We get ourselves in foul trouble and we have to quit making the same mistakes," said a frustrated Russell. "There's just no consistency offensively or defensively."