2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 2/12/2018 10:01 PM

Pregame ritual gives Timothy Christian a boost again

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By Andy Martinez
Daily Herald Correspondent

Timothy Christian girls basketball seniors Olivia Schuringa and Emily DeBoer know their go-to spot.

No, it isn't the free-throw line or the 3-point line. Actually, it isn't even on the basketball court.

"Before every game, Emily and I, we always go out and get our coffee," Schuringa said.

After school the duo drives to Dunkin' Donuts, picks up a pair of iced coffees and spend time with the team before they board the bus.

Monday night was no different. Before their 56-36 victory over Carver Military Academy in the Class 2A sectional semifinal at Chicago Christian, the seniors got their caffeine fix.

"That's our pregame ritual," Schuringa said.

For Schuringa, the $1.50 iced coffee was the boost she needed. She had 21 points -- 1 shy of her personal high -- 6 rebounds and 3 assists in the victory but didn't think she'd be able to put up that kind of numbers.

"I didn't think going into it, because I had that taller girl down low, I was kind of worried," Schuringa said.

Schuringa was an offensive force down low, especially on inbound plays, for Timothy Christian (20-9). Heidi Westra, Lauren Gehrke, Hannah Schuringa or anyone else who was inbounding consistently found her in the low block, where she'd convert layups or pick up fouls.

"We call it 'Sideline,'" Olivia Schuringa said. "It's a good one. It's our go-to, especially when we pull the guard out and then (I'm) 1-on-1."

Just as stout as their inbound plays was the Trojans' defense, especially in the second half. Trailing 32-21 at the half, Carver (15-6) went on a 9-1 run that got them within a possession.

Timothy Christian made a defensive switch. The Trojans were in a 3-2 defense to start the half, but the Challengers' Arian Kincaid exploited it. Kincaid, who finished with a game-high 22 points, scoring 7 of her team's 9 points in that second-half salvo. Timothy Christian switched to a box-and-one defense, with Abby Carstensen having Kincaid as her defensive assignment.

"We went into a box-and-one when she started shooting again, just to kind of slow her down and try and not let her get the ball and shoot it," DeBoer said.

It worked.

Timothy Christian went on a 17-0 run and limited Carver to just 6 points over the final 13 minutes, 21 seconds of the game.

"I think it shows how good our defense is," DeBoer said. "When one person goes out, another person is covering, our communication is also really good, too."

Timothy Christian will want to limit their turnovers against Harlan in the sectional championship Thursday night. The Trojans had 20 turnovers against Carver.

"The next level, (Harlan) is going to be like 10 notches up," Timothy Christian coach Michele Strube said. "No more mistakes, no more silly turnovers. We did a lot of that to ourselves. No more of that next game."

On Thursday Olivia Schuringa and DeBoer will know one thing for sure.

"Right after school, (we'll) go to Dunkin', pick it up, come back, hang out with the team and then we load up on the bus and go," Schuringa said.

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