Stingy Glenbard South grabs sectional championship
GENOA -- Maggie Bair and the Glenbard South girls basketball team know that more often than not, senior Sarah Cohen won't be padding the stat sheet.
And -- although she had 7 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal Thursday night -- there's one thing about Cohen's game that's even more crucial for the Raiders.
"She's one of the best defenders, I think, in the state," Bair said of Cohen. "She doesn't score a lot of points all the time, but she gets the job on defense every single game. We can always count on her."
Tasked with defending Sycamore leading scorer and Iowa State-recruit Kylie Feuerbach, Cohen backed up Bair's words.
Cohen helped hold Feuerbach to 1-of-14 shooting and limited her to 2 points, well below her 17-point average. Glenbard South picked up a 41-21 win in the Class 3A Genoa-Kingston sectional championship. The Raiders will play Carmel at 7 p.m. Monday in the Burlington Central supersectional at Elgin Community College.
"(Feuerbach) was a really good player," Cohen said. "(Wednesday) we just worked on defense. My teammates, I knew they had my back, so I just relied on them to help me."
It wasn't just Cohen who was playing stout defense. Glenbard South (28-3) was stingy defensively in the first quarter.
The Raiders held the Spartans (25-6) scoreless in the first eight minutes, forcing 4 turnovers and holding them to 0-of-5 shooting. The Raiders scored 11 seconds into the game on a Bair layup and never trailed.
"I just wanted them to play with confidence," Glenbard South coach Morgan Kasperek said. "We're a great defensive team. We clearly showed that tonight. They're a heck of an offensive team.
"We worked all season to play defense and we showed that tonight."
In the second quarter Sycamore found a little life offensively. The Spartans were 3 of 6 from the field in the quarter and went into the half trailing 12-7.
"I think we went in (to halftime) knowing that they could still comeback and it's an even game," Bair said. "No matter what, we still have to fight till the end."
And they did that. The Raiders scored the first 5 points of the half, killed clock and held the Spartans scoreless for the first 5:48. Sycamore scored just 2 points in the quarter.
"We always emphasize defense," Cohen said. "As a group, I think our favorite thing to do is defense, because that's what gets our offense flowing, is playing good defense."
In the fourth quarter Cohen's defense on Feuerbach began to bend, but Feuerbach's shots weren't falling. The sophomore missed three layups in the fourth quarter.
"I mean I think maybe it did get into her head, but she's a really good player," Cohen said.
Glenbard South's offense made Sycamore pay.
Senior guard Mady Carli scored 4 points and sparked a 10-3 run to start the fourth quarter, giving them a 31-12 lead.
"We just feed off Sarah's energy," Bair said. "That gets us all pumped up and then we bring it to offense."
Bair led all scorers with 15 points, chipping in 7 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocks. She had to make up for the disappointment of the 3-point showdown before the game. Bair was knocked out in a tiebreaker.
"I choked a little bit, not going to lie, I choked," Bair said. "It's whatever, I was hoping to go down (state) with my team instead of by myself, anyway."
Ally Daca had 9 points and 9 rebounds for Glenbard South and Carli had 8 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists.
Monday night, they'll more than likely need another strong defensive game. Carmel beat St. Viator 29-22.
"We're really excited," Cohen said. "We're just looking to the next game and preparing for the next game."