2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 1/26/2013 11:08 PM

Hilton, St. Charles East light up Batavia

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Apparently, St. Charles East's girls basketball team didn't take its 74-49 loss to Batavia earlier this month too kindly.

Just 18 days later, the Saints (13-11, 8-3) made a remarkable 38-point improvement in their position following a 79-66 Upstate Eight Conference River Division triumph over the Bulldogs (15-9, 6-4) Saturday night in St. Charles.

"They took it to us the first time and the girls remembered that," said Saints coach Lori Drumtra, whose team stayed within a game of conference co-leaders Geneva and Streamwood heading into the final week of the UEC River season.

"We honestly didn't feel like we played well in that first game and they played very well," added Drumtra. "We just wanted to play our game on our homecourt."

The Saints' game consisted of pushing the ball down the court, setting screens and letting shots fly from the outside.

Junior guard Amanda Hilton scorched the nets for 6 of the Saints' season-high 13 3-point baskets en route to a game-high 31 points.

"This is the real Saints team," said Hilton, who added 5 assists. "We came out ready to go tonight and got a win that was really important to us. Our shots were falling."

The Saints also received a superb all-around performance from 5-5 sophomore guard Katie Claussner, who had 20 points, a game-high 9 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 assists.

"I've kind of been waiting for that to happen," Drumtra said of Claussner, who also connected on three 3-pointers. "She didn't start out the season in the starting lineup but things have changed. I knew she was capable of it.

"She's a good ballhandler, she hits the boards hard, and she gets her hands up (on defense)," added the coach. "It was nice to see and I think that's going to give her some confidence."

"I just wanted to come out and show myself," said Claussner. "We lost one of our starters (Laney Deckrow to a concussion against Streamwood last week) so it was my time to step up."

Batavia junior guard Liza Fruendt (21 points) hit her first 4 shots from the field during a 12-point opening quarter that featured a combined seven 3-pointers, as the Bulldogs jumped out to a 22-18 lead.

But the Saints answered with a 25-12 second-quarter surge, keyed by 11 points from Hilton, to grab a 43-34 halftime advantage.

Hilton and Claussner each drained a pair of 3-pointers in the third quarter, as the red-hot Saints made 12 of 19 field-goal attempts -- 5 of 6 from beyond the arc -- while extending their lead to 64-47.

"We pushed the ball a lot and got easy points out of that," said Hilton. "We found the open girl."

St. Charles East also received contributions from Carly Pottle (11 points, 8 assists), Kyra Washington (10 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocked shots), and Hannah Nowling (5 points, 8 rebounds).

"It definitely felt good," said Drumtra. "Going into the last couple weeks, you want to be playing with this kind of energy."

Erin Bayram added 12 points and 6 rebounds for the Bulldogs, who recently received the fifth seed (St. Charles East is seeded 11th) for the upcoming Class 4A regional tournament at St. Charles East.

"Quite frankly tonight it looked like they were the team that should be ranked ahead of us," said Batavia coach Kevin Jensen.

"We didn't do the things we worked on all week to prepare for this," added Jensen. "We didn't defend ball screens or screens off the ball the way we worked on them. We just didn't play well. East played real well tonight."

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