When Jacobs girls basketball coach Joe Benoit surveyed the locker room shortly before the Golden Eagles went out and beat District-300 rival Dundee-Crown 44-37 in a Fox Valley Conference Valley Division win, it wasn't so much the rivalry that his team was focused on as it was themselves.
"I said ‘who do you want to play hard for?' " Benoit exclaimed. "And they all said each other, together. I thought that was perfect. I think that really showed their pregame commitment to each other. They were all involved and that's huge for us."
The team win snapped a two-game losing skid and gave Jacobs (6-19, 3-8) a 4-1 edge over D-C since Benoit was named coach before last season.
Jacobs was feeling good Tuesday behind freshman Carly Sidor, who led all scorers with 14 points, 6 coming from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter.
But if it wasn't a team defensive win, many Golden Eagles stepped up on the offensive end when they could have easily let Dundee-Crown back in it.
Jennifer Barnec poured in 9 points. Jessica Powell was a major contributor with 8 points off the bench. Maggie Grady and Teaghan Richman each chipped in 4 points. But it was when those four scored was when it was truly key. Richman, Barnec and Powell all hit 3-pointers in the second quarter during a stretch where Jacobs ballooned the lead to 12, the deficit Dundee-Crown (7-19, 2-10) stared at for quite some time bridging halftime and the fourth quarter.
Powell drained a timely bucket in the third on an offensive rebound putback and Barnec nailed a shot from the left angle when D-C threatened in the fourth.
And when the shots weren't falling, the Eagles were after it, helping force 17 Dundee-Crown turnovers, 7 of which came on a Jacobs theft. D-C was held to a 30 percent clip from the field and Jacobs owned the boards 34-28.
Even when Dundee-Crown outscored Jacobs 8-4 in the third quarter and got the lead down to 8 several times in the final 10 minutes, Jacobs got to the line where it was 13 of 20 whereas in the Chargers' case they attempted just one more than Jacobs made all night (6 of 14).
"We've been working on not caring who gets the credit but just working together as a team, just passing the ball and getting the open shot no matter who it is," said Powell, who then reflected on the rivalry. "They are our rivals, we always want to beat them. It's good to beat them."
"Without the whole team there's definitely no way we would have won. It wasn't just one person it definitely was a team effort," Sidor said.
Lauren Lococo led the Chargers with 13 points on Dundee-Crown's senior night. D-C lead 3-0 to start and was up 5-4 in the game's first 4 minutes. From that point on, the lead was in Jacobs' hands and the uphill climb never flattened out.
"A lot of that is focus and all of us were rushing our shots," Lococo said. "A lot of the times we didn't see the defense and passed it right into them. They came out hard, we couldn't compete with them, we were behind basically the whole game."
Jacobs didn't shoot well either at a 32 percent mark but made it tough on D-C in the third and fourth.
"When we did make a run at it, I felt we kept trading buckets which I don't feel you can do when you're trying to come back, but that's credit to them," said D-C coach Sarah Miller. "They hit some shots and did a good job attacking the rim and getting to the free throw line. They made their free throws, we didn't."