A Schaumburg team looking to produce strong-starting second halves ran into the wrong team Wednesday morning in first-round action of the Wheaton North Falcon Classic.
The Saxons had just used a solid second quarter to pull even with Glenbard South 22-22 at the half and hoped to carry that spark into the third quarter. Instead, the sixth-seeded Raiders (12-3) seemed to do whatever they wanted while regaining control with a 17-7 quarter that carried them to a 59-43 defeat of the Saxons (6-8).
Tomei Ball scored 9 quick points for Glenbard South early in the second half for a 33-27 lead that grew to 37-27 following a pair of free throws from Jenna Brambora and a putback by center Sydney Baumann. While a number of Raiders got involved in the offense, it was the team's tough defense all game long that helped hold off the Saxons. The 6-foot-2 Bauman blocked 6 shots in the game while her teammates added another 7 blocks.
"My girls executed our game plan to a T and I'm really proud of them," Raiders coach Julie Fonda said. "Today they worked their butts off for 32 minutes. I can't be happier with this group right now."
The Raiders coach could have been a tad happier in the second quarter when her team committed 7 turnovers and saw a 17-9 lead turn into a tie at the half. Jada Blackwell paced Schaumburg with 7 of her game-high 17 points in the first half, but the Glenbard South defense made life tough on guard Amanda Kelly, who was held without a field goal in the first half and finished with 12 points but just two field goals.
"The start of the third quarter has sort of been a nemesis for us," Saxons coach Ashley Berggren said. "We focus on coming out and getting a jump on the opponent the first couple minutes, but we just haven't been able to do that in recent games. Glenbard did a great job of coming out on fire."
Ball scored the first two baskets of the second half, with the second coming after Brambora a steal. Blackwell tried to stem the tide with a 3-pointer for Schaumburg, but Ball had a 3 of her own as the Raiders built a 39-29 lead after three quarters.
"We just played great defense and controlled the boards well," said Ball, who finished with 15 points, 2 steals and 2 blocks. "Ivana (Markovic) played great defense for us the whole game, and in that (third) quarter we executed on offense and defense."
Bauman, one of three Raiders to score in double figures, had 13 points and 11 rebounds to go along with her half-dozen blocked shots. Stefi Bazigos, who had a trio of 3s early, including a near half-courter to beat the buzzer in the first quarter, paced Glenbard South with 16 points.
We executed our offense and we played together," said Bauman, who helped the Raiders to a 33-22 edge on the boards. "When we run through our offense and not just do what we want, it works."
The Raiders advanced to a quarterfinal matchup at 3 p.m. Thursday against No. 3 Willowbrook, while the Saxons take on West Aurora on Thursday morning.