Jessica Hohlweg said the game plan for St. Viator on Monday night was to get the ball inside.
The Lions succeeded quite often and Hohlweg was often the beneficiary.
The 5-foot-11 junior forward scored a career-high 15 points to help lead the Lions to a 47-38 triumph over Leyden in the first-round game of the 31st annual St. Viator Snowflake Girls Basketball Tournament in Arlington Heights.
Hohlweg scored 8 of her points in the first half as the Lions took a 25-13 lead into intermission.
But the Eagles made things interesting in the third quarter.
They outscored the Lions 14-5 and got to within 30-27 when sophomore Rebecca Miranda scored on a fastbreak layup with five seconds left in the period.
Hohlweg hit a layup to start the final quarter the Lions were able to gradually able pull away again.
Hohlweg's layup with 4:04 left made it 42-32.
"We know our defense will always save us," Hohlweg said. "Our game plan was to get the ball inside. We started off doing that, then lost a little focus and got away from it. But then we got back to it. This win gives us momentum for the rest of the tournament."
Viator never let Leyden closer than 8 points in the final four minutes, and a free throw by Kayne Stanley with 24 seconds left capped the scoring and gave coach Christina Jost's unit a .500 record at 6-6.
Junior Alondra Chavarria had 13 points and 4 rebounds for Leyden (3-5).
Freshman Artasia Gusman, who missed the last two games with illness, added 11 (two 3-pointers) and her classmate Autumn McGee chipped in 10 points with a team-high 5 rebounds.
"They (the freshmen) did a better job of looking to score," said Leyden second-year coach Drewann Pancratz. "They've got a big load to carry and we are at the point where we are no longer treating them as freshman."
Pancratz was treated to great support by her family at the Cahill Gymnasium.
Among those cheering for the Eagles were Drewann's brothers Zach and Mark and friend Craig Reichel, who were all members on Schaumburg's 2001 Class AA boys basketball state championship team. Drewann's youngest fan in the stands was her three-year-old niece Charli.
"Drewann is doing a nice job with that team," said Lions assistant coach Tom Blenner. "She's now in her second year and they keep improving. They play very aggressive and they play hard.
"They forced us into turnovers because of the pressure they put on us."
The Lions also benefitted from their own pressure defense.
"I thought our press gave us a little advantage and then we had a height advantage to get the ball inside," Blenner said.
Senior Kelsey Trimble (8 points) made some nice drives to the basket, including a coast-to-coast layup which gave Viator a 10-point lead with 3:40 left in the game.
Junior Maddie McAteer chipped in 7 points while classmate Susie Moynihan added 6, including her team's only 3-pointer which came in the second quarter.
Senior Elizabeth McCluskey and junior Jannely Hernandez each added 3 rebounds for Leyden while Miranda had 2 to go along with her 2 buckets in the second half.
"We just didn't come out with the intensity and energy to win the game," Drewann Pancratz said. "We fought back a little in the third quarter.
"Rebecca came in and did a nice job offensively to kind of pick us. But our team defense wasn't good enough."