It took a while, but Maine West's girls basketball team showed why it came into Monday's nonconference game at Elk Grove with a 20-3 record.
The Warriors trailed 12-11 midway through the first quarter and led 19-17 when it ended.
But they outscored the Grenadiers 27-7 in the second period en route to an 82-44 triumph that marked their highest-scoring game of the season.
"Any time you score 82 points, you should be pleased," said Maine West coach Kim deMarigny, whose team can lock up a Central Suburban North title on Friday with a win over visiting Glenbrook North. "But I was still not pleased with our execution. We had poor defense and rebounding. So those are the things will go back and work on in practice the next few days."
The offense sure worked, right from the starters to the bench.
Sophomore reserve Jocelyn Jacob, converted on all three of her 3-point shots in the final quarter for 9 points.
"Even when the bench came in, we still kept the offense going," said sophomore guard Rachel Kent, who scored 14 points. "We are definitely playing more as a team. We have to improve on rebounding but we did pick it up in the second half."
Junior Alisa Fallon picked up the offense with 21 points and 9 assists, including a pass that covered nearly three quarters of the court and landed in the arms of sophomore Vanessa Reyes (7 points), who converted the layup to give West a 61-38 lead with three seconds left in the third quarter.
Fallon also grabbed 5 rebounds, second to freshman Angela Dugalic who had 8 along with her 12 points.
Elk Grove (3-21) made things interesting in the first quarter, grabbing the 12-11 lead when junior Bailey Smola converted a 3-pointer with 2:01 left in the half.
Freshman guard Megan Murray's 3-pointer with 10 seconds made it 17-17 before West got the lead for good on Kent's 16-footer with three seconds left in the quarter.
West then scored the first 10 points of the second quarter, starting with a 3-point play by Dugalic.
"As I told the girls, that was probably the best first quarter I've seen them play," said Grens coach Jen Guth. "That seems to be our thing, though. Playing against great competition like Maine West, or Hersey and Rolling Meadows, in our last few game, we get off to good starts where we keep our focus. But then after a quarter or so, we get sloppy. They (Maine West) have long athletic arms and we started making some sloppy passes."
The 5-foot-4 Murray led the Grens with 14 points, followed by sophomore Rachel Kandefer and Smola with 8 apiece. Senior Isabel Michniak came off the bench to chip in 6 while junior Emma Simmons and senior Jenny Banak had 4 apiece.
Murray had at least one field goal in every quarter.
"From top to bottom, we've got girls who will hustle," Guth said of her young squad. "Megan (Murray) is definitely the motor to that. The ball is in her hands the majority of time. It's a tough job but she is doing a great job. The girls appreciate knowing that she is going to make great passes and help us break the press."
Everyone helped West eclipse its previous season high of 72 points against Maine East.
Junior Allison Pearson also reached double figures with 11 points, while junior Jessica Riedl, senior Ashley Burton, senior Acacia Hernandez and junior Bianca Mando also made it into the scoring column.
"We were in a daze in the first quarter," deMarigny added. "But the girls played hard and we are getting reacclimated with Catherine (Johnson) back in the lineup."
Johnson missed more than month with a broken hand. The junior guard returned last Friday night in the Warriors' 59-42 win over Vernon Hills that clinched a tie in the conference.
"We've got to readjust with her," deMarigny said. "We haven't had a lot of time to do that. We've got to figure out how to use all our pieces."