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Streamwood's girls basketball team inched a little closer to its first outright conference championship Tuesday night.
Led by their terrific trio of Deja Moore, Jessica Cerda and Hannah McGlone, the Sabres (17-4, 8-1) took a major step toward at least a share of their first conference title in 23 years with a 62-53 Upstate Eight Conference River Division victory over St. Charles East (12-11, 7-3) in St. Charles.
Moore, a 5-7 senior guard, led the way with 20 points, 8 rebounds and 5 steals, while 6-foot junior center Hannah McGlone had 19 points, 13 rebounds and 6 blocked shots, and 5-9 senior guard/forward Jessica Cerda added 18 points, as Streamwood maintained its 1-game lead over Geneva (6-2) in the UEC River Division.
Together, they accounted for 92 percent of the Sabres' offense (57 of their 62 points) and scored all 36 of the team's second-half points.
"Each one is a little bit different," Sabres coach George Rosner said of his 3 standouts. "We try to move them around and put them in different positions. We'll post up Deja (Moore) at times. They can all go inside."
The first half featured a pair of huge momentum swings, as the Sabres scored 14 unanswered points to turn an 11-9 lead into a 25-9 advantage midway through the second quarter only to have the Saints counter with an 11-0 run over the last 2:45 of the period to pull within 26-22 by halftime.
The Saints' surge was fueled by 6 points from junior guard Amanda Hilton and a 3-point play from sophomore guard/forward Kyra Washington.
"We had a great start offensively and I felt more importantly, defensively," said Rosner. "We had a bad run and that let them get back into the game but we stayed focused."
St. Charles East kept its momentum going by scoring the first 5 points of the second half, as a baseline jumper from senior Carly Pottle (14 points) gave the Saints their first lead of the game, 27-26.
The lead didn't last long, however.
McGlone's inside basket and a 3-pointer from Cerda -- her third of the game -- helped propel an 8-0 run that put the Sabres ahead to stay.
"We lost it there for a little bit and came right back," said Rosner. "We went right back to pounding that ball and getting good shots, and then our defense really kicked in again."
"The turnovers came and we started to rush it," said Saints coach Lori Drumtra. "I think the adrenaline was flying through our bodies."
Streamwood, which led 46-36 after 3 quarters, extended its lead to as many as 14 in the fourth quarter before the Saints mounted one last comeback.
A rare 4-point play from Hilton (20 points), Pottle's 3-pointer from the top of the key and her tough-angle, behind-the-backboard baseline shot trimmed the deficit to 56-53 with 2:11 remaining.
But the Saints were held scoreless the rest of the way, and the Sabres put the game at the free-throw line, where they were 21 of 28 (the Saints were 4 of 6).
"When I think back on this game, I think of missed opportunities and turnovers, rushing and not taking our time on offense," said Drumtra, whose team fell 2 games behind the Sabres in the loss column. "Right now, they've got a distinct advantage but they have to play Geneva and Batavia again. It's still kind of up for grabs."
Laney Deckrow added 6 points and 10 rebounds for the Saints, who entertain Batavia Saturday.
Streamwood hosts Geneva Friday night.
"They're going to be ready for us," said Rosner, whose team handed Geneva a 53-45 loss on Dec. 12. "We've got to refocus tomorrow and get ready for them."
"This win meant a lot to us," said Moore. "We want to make history at Streamwood High."