Timothy Christian senior Kelli LeGrand and her teammates had a hard time concentrating during the school day Tuesday. With a girls basketball rematch looming large against Metro Suburban Conference leader Glenbard South at night, who could blame them for daydreaming about hoops rather than focusing on math and science?
When it came time to play the game, the Trojans turned that early excitement into lots of energy and confident play on the court. With LeGrand leading the way, Timothy Christian put together an impressive 47-40 victory over the visiting Raiders in Elmhurst.
The win avenged a 10-point loss to Glenbard South on Nov. 27 and keeps the Trojans (10-8, 5-2) on the heels of the Raiders (14-5, 5-1) in the conference standings.
"We were just all fired up and were talking to each other (during school)," LeGrand said. "It was really hard to lose that last game. I was not focused on school. We really came out with confidence. We were really pumped and ready to go."
LeGrand, a crafty guard with a knack for being in the right place at the right time, led the Trojans with 16 points. She carried the team in the third quarter, pouring in 10 of their 16 points. LeGrand also had two key assists and a couple of steals in the fourth quarter to help her team pull away.
"I am very proud of Kelli -- we count on her to do a lot," said Timothy Christian coach Ryan DeKoekkoek. "(Tuesday) she showed up in a big way for us. All day long, she wanted to play this game. To come out here and play the way she did really showed true leadership for us. When she is on, she sees the whole court. (Tuesday) was an exemplary example of seeing a great individual effort that helped the team."
Added LeGrand: "I just really feed off my teammates and the energy they bring. Everything comes as a team."
For both teams early on, it was a back and forth low-scoring affair. The score was tied at 17 at halftime and the Trojans began the final quarter ahead by a point. Glenbard South was getting most of its offensive spark from Stefi Bazigos, a deadly long-range shooter. The junior guard sank four 3-pointers to lead all scorers with 18 points.
"Stefi is a gamer -- all of my kids are gamers," said Glenbard South coach Julie Fonda. "She had a great night shooting. She tried to carry us and just didn't have enough in her."
But in the fourth quarter, it was all about Timothy Christian's strong team effort running its offense, playing defense and rebounding. A 6-0 run early in the quarter was key. Besides LeGrand's play, the Trojans got clutch field goals from Sara Hodges, Alexis Hoogendoorn, Kaylie Pries and Brittany Scheidt whose 3-pointer from the right wing with 1:37 left in the game was a huge boost because it countered a 3 by Bazigos that pulled the visitors to within 5 points.
"This is a huge win for us," DeKoekkoek said. "To get this win, hopefully it is a launching pad for us."