It was Alumni Day for the Streamwood girls basketball program Saturday and the current Sabres treated the graduates to one of their best games of the season.
Junior Maddi Exline scored a career-high 22 points to lead the Sabres to a 59-46 Upstate Eight River win over Batavia in a game that wasn't as close as the final score might indicate.
"That was one of our more complete games of the season," said Streamwood coach George Rosner. "We played well offensively and defensively and we rebounded well. We've been playing well. We're over .500 now. It's been a struggle to do it but we've done it."
Streamwood (11-10, 5-5), which has won 5 of its last 6 games, relied on Exline's ability to knock down outside shots, which in turn made Batavia extend its defense away from 6-foot-3 senior Jenejha Williams, who not only scored 15 points and grabbed 12 rebounds but also blocked 3 shots and altered countless others.
"That's been the pattern all year," said Rosner, whose team had lost to Batavia in overtime earlier in the season. "Teams want to take J out and when we've lost it's been because we didn't knock those shots down, Today we did."
While the offense was clicking for the Sabres, so too was the defense. Streamwood held Batavia (7-18, 3-6) to 11 points in the first half, opening up a 27-11 lead by the break. While the Sabres were hitting 10 of 19 shots in the first 16 minutes, Batavia was just 4 of 18. The Bulldogs tried to take the ball into paint repeatedly and time after time Williams would block or alter Batavia's shots.
"She's good in there but it wasn't just that," lamented Batavia coach Kevin Jensen. "We had a hard time executing any kind of pass and we didn't make the right decisions on where to go with the ball."
Batavia did come out with some fire to start the second half, scoring the first 6 points to draw within 10 at 27-17 after 2 free throws from sophomore Geddy Rerko, who led the Bulldogs with 9 points. But Exline hit a 3-pointer with 6:30 left in the third quarter that started the Sabres on a 12-2 run over the next 2 minutes and a 39-19 lead after 2 free throws from junior Andrea Bracey with 4:31 left in the frame.
"We never felt like we were in sync on defense today," Jensen said. "Our help was too late and we had a hard time rotating."
Another 9-0 burst that included another of Exline's four 3-pointers, and the Sabres had their biggest lead of the game at 50-24 when freshman Mandy Mien, who scored all 11 of her points in the third, made 2 free throws with 1:56 left.
"We've had great practices the past couple of days and that carried over to today," said Exline. "We really played as a team. We came together today and we really needed one like this. With seedings coming up next week, coming up with the win against Larkin (Tuesday) was important and this win was important."
Streamwood, which was 15 of 18 from the free-throw line for the day, took a 52-30 lead into the fourth quarter and still led 57-34 at the 6-minute mark when both coaches cleared their benches for the remainder of the game. Batavia outscored the Sabres 12-2 down the stretch.
Freshman Erin Golden, sophomore Allison Newberry and senior Morgan Erickson each had 6 points for the Bulldogs, who finished the game shooting 16-for-52. Streamwood, 18 of 31 through three quarters, finished at 19-for-40. The Sabres also won the rebound battle 33-28.