Junior Nichole Davidson and sophomore Morgan Rosencrants, when their games are on, give St. Charles North’s girls basketball team a formidable scoring tandem.
Thursday night, their games were on.
Davidson and Rosencrants each had a double-double as the North Stars led from wire-to-wire in defeating South Elgin 56-51 in an Upstate Eight crossover game in St. Charles.
“It’s definitely a positive thing to have two offensive players,” said Rosencrants, who had 21 points and 13 rebounds. “Nichole and I have really good chemistry on the court.”
Davidson added 18 points and 10 rebounds to the win as the North Stars (14-12) ensured themselves of a winning season in coach Sean Masoncup’s first year at the helm.
“It really helps us,” said Masoncup of having Rosencrants-Davidson scoring duo. “You can’t focus on one. But it really all starts with our point guard.”
That would be sophomore Kyla Helsel, who added 10 points and 4 assists.
“Kyla puts us in that position to score,” said Masoncup. “That’s where it all starts.”
The North Stars jumped ahead 14-6 after one quarter and took South Elgin’s best shots the rest of the night without ever giving up the lead.
The Storm (18-9), which made just 1 of 12 shots in the first quarter, closed the gap to 21-20 by halftime but the North Stars came out on a 10-2 run to start the third quarter and took a 31-22 lead after 2 free throws from Lauren Neslund with 3:09 left in the third quarter.
South Elgin, which lost for just the third time in its last 13 games, showed some signs of life in the fourth quarter but it was too little too late.
Trailing 42-29 after a Rosencrants basket with 6:49 left in the game, the Storm eventually cut the SCN lead to 50-47 when freshman Mackie Kelleher converted a putback, was fouled and made the free throw with 1:22 to play.
But Rosencrants, Helsel and Davidson went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line down the stretch to seal the win for the North Stars.
“It earns us more respect,” said Rosencrants of the win. “Going into the postseason people can expect anything from us. We’re a team that can come out and pull an upset. We’re playing more as a team and we’re working through our offense.”
Masoncup, whose team plays Bartlett in the semifinals of the Class 4A Glenbard East regional, says his team could be dangerous next week.
“I wouldn’t want to play us right now,” he said. “We’re getting better. We played with a lot of passion and heart tonight, especially on the defensive end. South Elgin’s a good ballclub. They played Geneva, Neuqua and Huntley all tough. They’re a legit ballclub.
“I hate to keep using it because it’s February but we’re still young and we’re still putting in new stuff every day. Our goal was to finish .500 and the girls have really bought into what we’re doing.”
Seniors Kennede Miller and Anna Tracy led South Elgin with 14 and 12 points respectively, while Kelleher added 10. The Storm finished shooting just 17 of 49 and committed 26 turnovers.
“We were sloppy tonight and I’m disappointed in our sloppiness,” said South Elgin coach Tim Prendergast, whose top-seeded team opens the postseason Tuesday night in the Class 4A Jacobs regional against the winner of Monday’s Larkin-Jacobs game.
“We had more unforced turnovers tonight than we’ve had the last 10 games combined. But that said, give St. Charles North credit, Rosencrants and Davidson played real well tonight. We couldn’t get any rhythm going with our shooting and they out-hustled us.
“Hopefully we got this ugliness out of our system and we get back to playing the way we have been because we’ve been on a roll.”