Keeping Wheaton Warrenville South from scoring is one thing. Keeping Tigers senior Melinda Franke from getting the rebound is another.
Franke did a lot of both Wednesday night in Lombard, scoring 12 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in a 57-32 Tigers victory over host Glenbard East in a Class 4A girls basketball regional semifinal.
“I love rebounding,” said Franke, a senior forward. “Effort is all you need to rebound.”
“I try to teach even younger kids, not just in high school but in middle school, watch her because she never waits for the ball,” Tigers coach Rob Kroehnke said. “Unbelievable anticipation of where the ball is going. And she’s strong. You might not really notice it but she’s a strong kid.
“She does a great job not just on the boards but defensively. We put her on the other team’s best player, and it’s her job to slow them down. Not stop them but just slow them down. She does a good job with that. She’s just had a fantastic year.”
With 187 offensive rebounds already this season, Franke owns the school’s season mark, 40 offensive rebounds clear of what was an 18-year-old record. She’s 5 rebounds short of Katie Meier’s 20-year-old school record of 328 total rebounds in a season, a milestone she’s could hit Friday when the Tigers meet Bartlett in the regional final.
Not that Franke is dwelling on the records.
“It doesn’t really matter to me, though,” she said. “I just want to go out there every day and just win the game.”
The top-seeded Tigers (27-3) took care of winning with a fast start. They scored the game’s first 10 points, a run ended by Elie Donovan’s 3-pointer. The Tigers hardly blinked, however, scoring 12 straight points before Donovan’s next 3 made the score 22-6 midway through the second quarter.
“It was definitely real important to get off to a good start. It’s the first game of the playoffs,” Franke said. “... The playoffs are just a different atmosphere. Even though we’ve played Glenbard East before, we definitely need that first playoff game to keep us moving forward.”
“We had a great start,” Kroehnke said. “I mean, we gave up 3 (points) in the first quarter. We weren’t executing great, but when you play defense like that, it will help you out.”
Tigers senior Meghan Waldron scored 18 points and grabbed 8 rebounds of her own. Maggie Dansdill had 12 points and 5 rebounds.
Donovan ended her senior season with a team-high 11 points for the Rams (8-17).
“The last three game she’s really started to come on, she’s really done well,” Rams coach Don Finnie said of Donovan, who had 21 points in a quarterfinal victory against Schaumburg. “She’s a senior. She plays hard.”
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