St. Charles East put an exclamation point on the long-held dictum in basketball the most important stretch of the game is often the end of the second quarter and the beginning of the second half.
The Saints' girls team hit Oswego with a 13-point unanswered run to close out the first half and ultimately stretched its dominant run to 32-9 during the course of the third quarter in cruising to a 64-46 victory over the Panthers Tuesday night in Oswego.
In the process, St. Charles East unveiled a three-headed attack in the persons of Carly Pottle, Katie Claussner and Amanda Hilton.
The three guards combined to burn the Panthers for 45 points in orchestrating the victory.
Utilizing quickness, unrelenting pressure and solid perimeter shooting, Oswego (13-11) could not stop the triumvirate beginning with two-plus minutes to go before the intermission.
"That's our game," said Pottle, who scored 10 of her 12 points in the third quarter, on the Saints' transition attack. "We're very short and quick, so running the floor is our game."
The senior guard was a nemesis for Oswego after a slow start; she canned back-to-back 3-pointers during her personal double-digit eruption in the third.
"I was very cold (from the field) in the first half," Pottle said. "I had to redeem myself."
The Saints' 13-0 run to end the second quarter turned their largest deficit of the game -- 27-23 -- into a 36-27 cushion at the half.
Hilton, who had 14 of her 16 points in the opening half, scored 9 during the unanswered conclusion to first-half play.
But it was Claussner who continued her fine play of late for the Saints, who essentially guaranteed victory for St. Charles East (15-11).
In a highly entertaining opening quarter, Oswego used its rebounding prowess to take a 19-18 lead after eight minutes.
Kelsey Nelson dominated the interior for the Panthers with her 9 points in the quarter, but Claussner literally one-upped her to keep the Saints together.
The sophomore hit all 5 of her field-goal attempts and then did likewise on her three shots in the third to finish a flawless 8-for-8 in the two frames to author a game-high 17-point performance.
"I was feeling really confident and I was on," Claussner said. "I just kept shooting and they kept falling. I got a lot of help from teammates. They were the ones giving me opportunities."
Neither Pottle nor Claussner played in the fourth quarter, which began with the Saints holding a 55-36 advantage.
"We do have some speed," St. Charles East coach Lori Drumtra said. "(The players) feel very comfortable running with the ball. That's when we play really well."
Kyra Washington added 8 points and Anna Bartels 6.
Jordan Campbell had a team-high 12 points for Oswego.