2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 2/9/2018 10:28 PM

A championship for Timothy Christian to remember

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  • Timothy Christian's Emily DeBoer, left, and Olivia Schuringa, right, celebrate a 42-33 win over Lisle to capture the Class 2A Timothy Christian girls basketball regional championship in Elmhurst.

      Timothy Christian's Emily DeBoer, left, and Olivia Schuringa, right, celebrate a 42-33 win over Lisle to capture the Class 2A Timothy Christian girls basketball regional championship in Elmhurst.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

 
 

This season's Timothy Christian girls basketball team wanted to be remembered for doing something special.

The Trojans had plenty to celebrate after Friday night's 42-33 victory against Lisle at the Class 2A Timothy Christian regional final.

In the first season playing in the Trojans' Ward Athletic Center, Timothy Christian won its first regional championship in seven years, the first in Michele Strube's five years as coach.

"It's huge. First year in this building, first team in this building, first regional in (seven) years. It's going to be a very special team for people to remember," Strube said.

The Trojans advanced to play in the 6 p.m. Monday semifinal at the Chicago Christian sectional.

"I don't even have words right now," Trojans senior Emily DeBoer said. "It was definitely a team win for sure. ... And last year we lost to Lisle in this game. To beat them was amazing."

DeBoer, a 6-foot-2 post, let her scoring do her talking during the game, leading both teams with 14 points. She also grabbed 9 rebounds.

Playing four 6-footers, the Trojans' height gave Lisle (13-17) fits all game.

Needing 3-pointers to drop to counter the Timothy Christian height advantage, the Lions made just 2 of 21 shots from distance.

Timothy Christian, on the other hand, got two 3-pointers apiece off the bench from Abby Carstensen and Lauren Gehrke.

"Abby never shoots, was fantastic. Lauren, that's what she does," Strube said.

The Trojans (19-9) took the lead for good in the first quarter with a 12-0 run that wiped out a 4-0 Lisle lead. Lisle came close a couple of times but never could pull even with the Trojans.

"We wanted it. We really, really wanted it. I think by settling down and realizing they were that close, we were like, it can't happen. So we just shut them down," said 6-foot Trojans senior Olivia Schuringa, who finished with 9 points.

"Every time we made those runs, we just could not find a way to negate their height," Lisle coach Nick Balaban said. "We knew that coming in when we played them the first time (a 35-25 Trojans win in January) and we knew that coming in tonight. How do you do that? How do you negate their height? And you can't when your biggest player is 5-8."

After watching Lisle senior guard Natalie Takahashi score 30 points in Wednesday's regional semifinal, the Trojans opted for a box-and-one defense focused on Takahashi. They alternated 6-foot junior Heidi Westra and the 5-4 Carstensen chasing Takahashi around the court.

"Abby and Heidi did a phenomenal job," Strube said. "We had height, we put quickness on her, we did a little bit of both. We subbed. We were going to let the (rest of) the team beat us, which they were for a while. But then we kind of spread out that box a little bit. And it worked."

Takahashi scored just 7 points, all at the free-throw line. She leaves Lisle as the Lions' all-time leading scorer with 1,240 points.

"We knew that they were going to overplay Natalie quite a bit tonight based on what she did the other night," Balaban said.

Junior guard McKenzie Weaver led the Lions with 9 points.

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