A one-player team is always going to have a hard time trying to beat a balanced five-man attack, which Reed-Custer found out Friday night against Rosary in the IMSA/Aurora Christian Hoops Happenings Tournament.
Comet senior Caitlyn Welch put on a dazzling show, scoring inside and outside on a wide variety of impressive moves. She scored 17 straight points for her team at one point and ended with 29, but the Royals countered with three players in double figures for a 59-41 victory.
Rosary (2-1) will play at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in the third-place game at Aurora Christian (2-1).
"They had one player we needed to stop," Rosary coach Jessie Wilcox said. "When we got into pressure situations we could have folded but we kept our heads. I was very happy. We've improved every game and to start a season that's all you can ask."
Megan Conlin led Rosary with 18 points and 6 rebounds. Rachel Choice and Quincy Kellett both scored 13. The Royals have bounced back from a season-opening loss to Yorkville with back-to-back wins.
"We still haven't played our best defense yet," Conlin said. "We're getting there. We're improving every single day. The first game we were playing individually and now today it was team, team, team."
Reed-Custer (1-2) never led. Choice penetrated the Comets' defense for a lay-in to open the scoring.
After Emily Bakala swished a 3-pointer for a 9-2 lead, Kellett scored the Royals' next 9 points to go up 18-4. Rosary held leads of 20-11 after the first quarter and 32-20 at halftime.
"If we play as a team, we spread the ball, we take what's open, we have a lot of weapons," Wilcox said.
After scoring 14 of her team's 20 points in the first half, Welch was even better in the third quarter. She opened with a 3-pointer, then scored three more baskets forcing the Royals to switch to a box-and-1.
Welch converted a 3-point play against the defense -- giving her all 12 of her team's points in the third quarter -- but for the most part the defense took Welch out of the offense and left it up to her teammates. Other than Welch, Reed-Custer combined to go 0-for-5 from the field, 0-for-2 at the line and commit 7 turnovers in the third quarter to fall behind 50-32.
"Our intensity was better," Wilcox said. "We were under control and played as a team. When we are under control and play as a team we're going to win a lot of ballgames this year."
Wilcox, who only used six players through three quarters, got more of her young bench in late in the fourth quarter with her team up by 25.
"As we go on and get more experience they will get more and more minutes," Wilcox said.