The Christian Liberty/Christian Heritage Academy co-op girls basketball team went above .500 with its 42-34 win over Beacon Academy of Evanston on Thursday in Arlington Heights.
But the Chargers did it in a unique way, winning for the first time in wire-to-wire fashion.
They never trailed in the nonconference game against the Wolves, also a Class 1A team.
"It's really a nice change of pace for us," said Chargers coach Annie Vazquez, whose team is 6-5. "Usually, we're down and we come from behind."
The visiting Wolves (6-4) tried to come from behind when they pulled to within 36-34 on freshman Samara Taylor's 3-pointer with 3:08 left in the game.
Just four minutes earlier, Beacon Academy trailed by 11 points at 32-21 following a running 10-footer in the lane by Chargers' junior Kelly Sullivan.
But CLA/HCA dug in at the end and received a big 3-pointer from freshman Christine Sean that extended the lead to 40-34 with 1:46 left.
Junior Annika Dinkelman's 14-footer at the buzzer made it an 8-point margin at the end.
Dinkelman and freshman teammate Megan Ng attend Christian Heritage Academy in Northfield, while their other five teammates are students at Christian Liberty Academy.
The game was tied at 2-2 when Dinkelman put the Chargers ahead for good with a short jump shot from the baseline.
A 3-pointer by Sean and a driving layup by junior Emma Wolke made it 9-2.
" I think it's all about working as a team," Dinkelman said. "If you noticed, when we weren't working as a team, that's when they caught up to us.
"We have to make the passes and play good defense. Defense won the game for us. It was the teamwork, defending and trapping them. It's all about knowing where you are on the court in relation to your teammates."
Dinkelman's teammates combined for five 3-pointers, including two from Sean, and one apiece from Ng, Wolke and senior Cailee Hilinger, who hit her long-range bucket at the first-quarter buzzer for a 12-4 lead.
Vasquez emphasized the defense of Hilinger, the only senior on the team.
"Cailee really anticipated some passes," said Vazquez, a former basketball and volleyball player at CLA. "Megan (Ng) is an all-around player. She can play every position. She can bring the ball down the court. Hopefully she will lead this team the next few years."
Ng and Dinkelman led the Chargers with 9 points apiece while Sullivan added 8 followed by Wolke (7) and Sean (6).
"I think everyone played well," Vazquez said. "We played as a team. Sometimes we struggle with that but they showed today that they can all play together. And we were aggressive. Overall, the scoring was pretty even which is great."
Taylor led the Wolves with 10 points while sophomore Lill Pries added 8 and junior Gracie Rigas (7).
"We got off a slow start," said Beacon Academy coach LaShun Williams, a former Evanston High School guard (1992 grad) who is in her third year running the program which began four years ago. "We know we have to start faster in our next game and play stronger on the defensive end."