Healthy at last, the St. Edward girls basketball team cruised to its most convincing win of the year in Monday's postseason opener in Lake Villa.
No. 18 St. Edward took a 19-point lead after one quarter and held No. 15 Chicago Senn to 2 points in the third quarter of a 66-28 victory in a Class 3A Lakes regional play-in game.
Senior guard Rena Ranallo and junior guard Katie Swanson, each of whom recently returned to the lineup from injuries, combined to score 12 first-half points as the Green Wave bolted to a 44-13 halftime lead. It was a satisfying victory for a team that entered regional play with a 3-24 record.
"We finally have everyone back healthy," St. Edward coach Michelle Dawson said. "Right now we're at a level we needed to be at in December. We've had our ups and downs, but the girls kept pushing and working."
The victory advances St. Edward to a regional semifinal against No. 1 sectional seed Vernon Hills (26-2) today at 6 p.m. Vernon Hills is the defending state runner-up in 3A.
Monday marked the second straight game in which the Green Wave set a new season high for points scored. They netted 55 points in a victory over Chicago Christian on Saturday.
"We don't have a lot of wins this year, but now we've already won as many playoff games as we did last year when we won 20 games," said Ranallo, who finished with 8 points, 6 assists and 2 steals. "All that matters is the postseason. That's what people remember."
Junior forward Clarissa Ramos scored 11 of her game-high 13 points in the first half, and most of her teammates joined in on the fun as Dawson substituted liberally. In all, 11 players made their way into the scoring column, including junior Maria Von Ahnen (10 points).
"It was great to get everyone in the game and get everyone a shot," said sophomore Cece Rapp, who scored 12 points and grabbed 5 rebounds. "We have to to take this same energy into our next game."
Senn (13-9) was led by junior Jessica Velez (8 points). The Wave realize their next opponent presents a stiffer test.
"(Vernon Hills) will be a big challenge," Dawson said. "The level of competition turns up now. We hope that the tough schedule we play during the regular season prepares us."