At 5-foot-4, Marissa Urso is far from being the tallest basketball player on the court.
However, the St. Charles East guard has the ability to hit some big-time shots.
The sharpshooting senior poured in a game-high 23 points, including a career-best seven 3-pointers, to help lift the Saints (2-1) to a 56-45 victory over Wheaton Warrenville South (0-3) during Saturday's third round of the Schaumburg Thanksgiving Girls Basketball Tournament in Schaumburg.
Urso, who connected on 7 consecutive 3-point baskets after missing her first long-range attempt, ended the first half with a flourish, draining back-to-back 3-pointers in the final 14 seconds to extend the Saints' lead from 9 to double digits at 35-20.
She scored 14 of the Saints' 23 second-quarter points, including a perfect 4 of 4 from beyond the arc.
"I wouldn't say I felt it from the start but once I hit that first one it helped," said Urso.
The Tigers went on a 6-0 run during the first 5-plus minutes of the third quarter and outscored the Saints 9-3 in the period to trim the deficit to 38-29.
After senior guard Sarah Struebing (team-high 14 points) opened the fourth quarter with a pair of 3-point baskets and teammate Jayla Johnson (6 points, 5 rebounds) canned a 14-foot jumper, the Tigers made it a 1-point game at 38-37 with 5:54 remaining.
"We didn't match their energy," said Saints coach Lori Drumtra.
That energy quickly returned, as Urso hit back-to-back 3-pointers from the top of the key to ignite an 8-0 that extended the Saints' lead to 46-37 with 4:18 left.
"She saved us," Drumtra said of Urso. "I thought we were moving the ball great in the second quarter and when we finally got our act together toward the end of the third quarter into the fourth (quarter)."
"She (Urso) hit those couple in the second quarter and then the same thing happened in the fourth (quarter)," said Tigers coach Rob Kroehnke. "One of them came right after a missed layup."
Junior forward Sara Rosenfeldt, who recorded a double-double with 19 points and 17 rebounds, was credited with a slight positional adjustment -- moving from the middle to a wing -- that sparked the Saints' offense down the stretch.
"That was her idea," said Drumtra. "It's easier to double-team her when she's playing in the middle like that. She said, 'if I can move to the outside, I can attack better.' It was her suggestion and it worked out really well.
"She knows the game. She knows what the defense is doing."
Samantha Munroe and Ashley DiOrio added 6 and 5 points, respectively, for the Saints, who suffered a season-ending 59-42 regional semifinal loss to the Tigers a year ago.
Paige Miller chipped in with 9 points for the Tigers.
"We're still trying to figure some stuff out," said Kroehnke, who substituted freely throughout the game. "We've got a lot of familiar faces back but we've got some new faces, too. We're just trying to find our identity a little bit."
Tournament action resumes Tuesday night.