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Jacobs' girls basketball team came out with that old "nothing to lose" attitude Tuesday night and, for one half anyway, made life miserable for top-seeded South Elgin in the first semifinal of the Class 4A Jacobs regional.
But the Storm unleashed a relentless defense to open the second half and used that to cruise to a 64-48 win.
The victory puts South Elgin (19-9) in its third straight regional championship game, and for the third straight year the Storm will play Elgin Area School District U-46 sister school Streamwood for the title after the Sabres beat Dundee-Crown 60-51 in Tuesday's second semifinal. The title game is at 7 p.m. Thursday with the winner advancing to next week's Crystal Lake South sectional to face Belvidere North or Huntley.
Jacobs (8-21) unleashed 6 3-pointers on the Storm (in 12 attempts) in the first half to grab a 29-28 lead at the break.
But South Elgin turned up the defense from the get-go in the third quarter, harassing Jacobs into 8 turnovers that helped fuel a 14-0 run to stare the period. That gave the Storm a 42-29 lead after a Nadia Yang basket with 5:20 left in the quarter and the closest the Golden Eagles could get the rest of the way was 10.
The Storm's biggest lead of the night was 22, 61-39, after a Delaney Kelleher basket with 3:26 left in the game.
"The second half we definitely clamped down on defense and started rebounding better," said South Elgin senior Kennede Miller, who had 13 points and hit 2 key 3-pointers in the third quarter. "We had to change our mentality and get up in their face more. They're really good shooters and they surprised us at first but we came back in the second half and played defense like we know how."
The Storm hit on 25 of 61 shots while Jacobs finished 15-for-44. South Elgin won the rebounding battle 39-25 with Savanah Uveges (17 points) and Bridgette Williams each pulling down 7.
"I knew they had shooters and they completely unleashed that on us in the first half," said South Elgin coach Tim Prendergast of the Golden Eagles. "Offensively I was happy with where we were at but I was upset that we were being out-hustled. We had to come out really strong in the second half and force the issue."
Alyssa Lach led Jacobs with 13 points. Jennifer Barnec added 9 and Jessica Powell had 8.
"Our kids executed the game plan beautifully but we had problems with their pressure in the third quarter," said Jacobs coach Joe Benoit. "South Elgin is the No. 1 seed for a reason.
"Our seniors have a lot to be proud of and hopefully our young kids grew up some tonight and throughout the season."