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Rosary came into Tuesday night's Suburban Christian Conference crossover clash at Aurora Christian having never lost to the Eagles, a streak that included a 25-point win earlier this season.
Aurora Christian broke through in convincing fashion. Senior Alyssa Andersen scored the game's first 4 points and 9 of her team's first 11 on her way to a game-high 19 points and 6 steals. The Eagles never trailed in a 56-42 victory to get that Rosary monkey off their backs.
"It's usually pretty much a blowout," Andersen said of the previous meetings. "We were pretty pumped. We've been bonding a lot. We got help from everyone. Everyone has just been working so hard so it was great to see everyone step up. They told us seniors it's going to be your last year (to beat Rosary)."
While improving to 12-9, Aurora Christian also snapped out of a recent skid when the team dropped five of six games.
"We kept our poise which has been a little bit of a challenge," Eagles coach Jerry Tokars said. "I think that's the key. The teams here have been January and February teams so hopefully that is holding true again this year."
Rosary (9-10) got off to a slow start and could not recover. Gabby Galbato came off the bench to score late in the first quarter and then Natasha Brown also tallied a last-second basket to put the Eagles up 17-10 after the first quarter.
"They started out more ready," Rosary coach Jessie Wilcox said. "All five of them were on the same page. When you come to a game you have to be physically and mentally prepared. Early in the season we beat this team so in our mind we thought we would beat this team again. I give Aurora Christian a lot of credit. They scouted us, they made changes, their girls bought into the game plan."
Rosary freshman Aubrey Fisher came off the bench for a 3-point play and then a 3-point basket in the final seconds of the second quarter to bring the Royals within 25-22 at halftime.
Kirsten Madsen, who had a single point in the first half, opened the third quarter with the first of her three 3-pointers in the second half. Reserve Sami Hultine also swished a 3-pointer in the third quarter, then Brown scored off an out-of-bounds play to extend the Eagles' lead to 44-32 after three quarters.
"I think we matched the intensity from the beginning to the end," Tokars said. "I think we played like we were capable."
Rachel Choice, who led Rosary with 14 points, scored a pair of quick baskets and made 2 free throws early in the fourth quarter, but the closest Rosary came was a 48-40 deficit with five minutes left.
Aurora Christian then ended the game outscoring Rosary 8-2, including a three-point play from Andersen.
"She gets in a zone in these type of games," Tokars said.
Madsen added 12 points, and Brown pulled down 16 rebounds to go with her 9 points for the Eagles, who at 4-2 in the Suburban Christian Gold are tied for first with Wheaton Academy and ICCP with four games remaining.
Quincy Kellett followed Choice with 12 points for Rosary.
"Especially with our depth we don't go very deep so if we have to exert all that energy catching up, it's hard in the fourth quarter to pull it out," Wilcox said of playing from behind.
"We have to mature. We can't play against one team and have energy and be all hyped and come out the next game and just lollygag. We're not a good enough team to do that."