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The last time a Streamwood girls basketball team won a regional championship, most of the current Sabres' parents weren't even married yet, head coach George Rosner didn't have any gray hair, one of his current assistant coaches was a budding sophomore star on the team and the price of gas was 75 cents per gallon.
While we'll likely never see gas prices like that again, the Sabres' 25-year wait is officially over.
Senior Deja Moore set the tone, junior Hannah McGlone cleaned the glass like a professional window washer, and senior Jessica Cerda closed the door as the Sabres dominated South Elgin from start to finish in a 54-34 win in the championship game of the Class 4A Streamwood regional Thursday night. The regional crown is Streamwood's first since 1988, when the Sabres finished a run of four straight regional titles.
"I don't know if I'd say it's been a fast 25 years but it doesn't feel like 25 years since I held one of these," said a jubilant Rosner, clutching the newly cut down net. "It feels great. I'm so proud of the girls. They wanted this bad."
So bad, they never gave South Elgin a chance. Streamwood bolted to an 8-0 lead and the closest the Storm would come the rest of the night was 8-2.
The win puts the Sabres in Monday's 7:30 p.m. Rockford East sectional semifinal against the winner of tonight's Crystal Lake South regional final between Cary-Grove and the host Gators.
"Before the game, during school, during the 3-point contest, all during warm-ups, we were just so excited," said the Chicago State-bound Cerda, who had a game-high 17 points, 12 of them in the fourth quarter. "We were so ready. We really wanted to get this regional. It's been so long. We deserve it and Rosner deserves it."
Moore scored the first 4 points of the game then fed Brittany Delao for a 6-0 lead. Holly Foret's basket made it 8-0 with less than 3 minutes gone in the game.
"It was a very huge deal for us," said Moore of getting the big lead early. "Defense comes first and once our defense gets started there's no stopping us."
Streamwood's defense didn't cause the second-seeded Storm (17-12) many turnovers but the Sabres contested every shot. South Elgin was 1-for-15 in the first quarter and just 4 of 28 in the first half as the Sabres led 25-8 at intermission. The Storm finished 15 of 56 while Streamwood was 22-for-54.
"We came out flat and nervous," said South Elgin coach Tim Prendergast, whose team beat Streamwood in last year's regional final. "We had a ton of looks, open looks under the basket.
"Anytime George gets in 19 fist-pumps in a game you know it's not a good night."
South Elgin could do nothing to get back in the game. The Storm's best run of the game was a 5-0 spurt late in the third quarter but all that did was bring them back to within 12 at 31-19 after a Savanah Uveges basket with 2:48 left in the third. But then Moore scored on back-to-back drives into the lane and South Elgin never came closer than 14 the rest of the way.
"We always let teams back in games," said Cerda. "It was huge to not let that happen. We knew we had to play 32 minutes of basketball to win the regional championship."
Moore scored 12 points and had 13 rebounds and McGlone added 7 points, 14 rebounds and 3 blocks for the Sabres, who earned Rosner his 385th career win, 343 of them at Streamwood.
"Deja Moore was the best player on the floor tonight," credited Prendergast. "It was a combination of them playing very well and us not playing well at all. It felt like this game got over quickly. They were the better team tonight. We never made it a game and that's kind of disheartening."
The win erased thoughts of a rough past two weeks for the Sabres, who had the Upstate Eight River championship within their grasp before losing to Geneva and Batavia late in the season.
"Every team goes through its ups and downs," said Rosner, who shared a celebratory hug with assistant coach Chris (Francke) Tomasiewicz, a sophomore standout on the 1987-88 Streamwood team that won regional and sectional titles.
"This is the basketball we played most of the season. Today we turned it up a notch. That's the best defensive game we've played."
Junior Kennede Miller led South Elgin with 9 points, while Uveges and senior Kara Rodriguez added 8 each.