New coach, same old Sara Rosenfeldt.
St. Charles East's girls basketball team got its season started Tuesday night at the Schaumburg Thanksgiving Tournament under first-year coach Aubree Schuett, who is taking over for Lori Drumtra.
The new coach has quite a player to build around in her first season in Rosenfeldt, a four-year starter and Alabama-Birmingham commit who is on pace to leave as the Saints' all-time leading scorer.
Rosenfeldt scored 16 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and blocked 3 shots in a 56-38 win over host Schaumburg.
Leading 34-31 entering the fourth quarter, the Saints (1-0) broke the game open, outscoring the Saxons 22-7.
"It was a little ugly but we'll take it how we can get it," Schuett said. "We've been pumping them full of a whole lot of stuff the last couple weeks. Sometimes it's just about going out there and trying to work through it. It was a good first go at it."
The Saxons (0-1), with Kayla Patterson their lone returning starter, grabbed a 10-8 lead after the first quarter on a 3-point basket by Ariana Doroskin.
St. Charles East took the lead for good early in the second on junior Lexi Kiefer's free throw and jump shot. Rosenfeldt and Rose Stackhouse sank back-to-back 3-pointers before Emily Vitkus assisted another Rosenfeldt basket for a 30-21 halftime lead.
"Obviously there were ups and downs but it's going to happen with a new team," Rosenfeldt said. "We played well and we got the win so that's all that matters."
Vitkus knocked down a baseline jumper to start the second half to put the Saints up 11, but Rosenfeldt picked up her third foul shortly after and went to the bench. The Saxons went on a quick 7-0 run, including layups for Vicky Aguirre and Kendall Fredrickson after Doroskin sliced through the Saints' press and found open teammates inside.
Rosenfeldt re-entered and scored on a putback before Doroskin connected on her second trifecta to make it a 3-point game through three quarters.
"I'm really impressed with the first three quarters," Schaumburg coach Jacqie Storm said. "Tonight we weren't super deep and we got a little winded, and 41 (Rosenfeldt) is a fantastic player."
Nicole Jordan, who scored 14 points off the Saints bench, opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer. Junior Ashley DiOrio tallied the next 3 points for the Saints, then Rosenfeldt dropped in 6 straight to open a 46-34 lead.
"I think they showed tremendous poise," Schuett said of the fourth quarter. "It wasn't time to panic. I thought that showed good leadership by our seniors."
A 10-0 run late gave the Saints their biggest lead of the night at 20 on DiOrio's 3 and a pair of free throws by Kiefer.
DiOrio (8 points, 8 rebounds), Kiefer (7 points) and Stackhouse (6 points, 5 steals) helped provide the balanced scoring Schuett wants.
"That makes us difficult to defend," Schuett said. "Sara is not a secrete. We anticipate her to be double and triple teamed all year long and the only way to alleviate that is for other people to score. We work on it a lot, we talk about it all the time."
Patterson and Doroskin both scored 8 points for the Saxons.
Aguirre, a 6-foot-1 junior, finished with 7 points and 4 rebounds and impressed her coach with her play inside.
"Once she realizes she can be unstoppable, she is going to be our leading scorer if she wants to be," Storm said. "She does an outstanding job of wanting the ball. We have to get her the ball. She's tough to guard."