St. Viator rolls by Marian Central
Two days ago, St. Viator senior guard Sam DeJulio committed to Southern Illinois where she will play Division I soccer.
"That's great for her," said St. Viator girls basketball coach Jason Raymond. "She kind of brings a soccer mentality to the basketball court for us. She sees the floor real well and plays well in space."
DeJulio and the Lions sure put a lot of space between themselves and visiting Marian Central Catholic (Woodstock) on the scoreboard.
The Lions (15-5, 2-2) rolled out to a 19-6 lead after one quarter and never looked back on Wednesday in a 64-32 East Suburban Catholic Conference triumph over the Hurricanes (8-11, 1-1) in the Cahill Gymnasium.
"We talked about coming out strong right away, especially with this being a conference game," DeJulio said. "And we did exactly that."
It took less two minutes for the hosts to grab an 8-2 lead, getting a pair of 3-pointers from senior Elise Horbach and freshman Joy Bergstrom.
In all, the Lions converted nine 3-pointers, including three apiece from senior Natalie Krause and Bergstorm.
Krause netted a game-high 15 points with 3 rebounds while Bergstrom added 14 points with 3 rebounds and 2 steals.
Other top scorers for Viator were Horbach (10 points, 2 rebounds), freshman Nora Ahram (9 points, 6 last, 2 steals) and sophomore Emma Morrisey (8 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists).
"We've really been working on offense, and defense, but our offense has been really super strong this season," DeJulio added.
That offense did not go unnoticed by Hurricanes coach Ephraim Lee, a 2014 graduate of Marian Central.
"They have great shooters," he said. "That's their main gist. "They're an excellent, excellent shooting team.
"And they play pressure defense up and down the floor. They've got a lot of stamina when it comes to playing defense. They're definitely one of the better teams we'll see, and especially in our conference."
Lee was without his top player, Janelle Allen, who was sidelined with a groin strain. The 6-foot-1 junior forward averages close to 17 points a game and Lee hopes to have her back by next week.
Raymond was without 5-10 senior Bridget DeZellar (illness).
"We were lucky (Marian did not have Allen) because we would have missed Bridget's post defense (on Allen)," Raymond said.
But Raymond had his perimeter shooters, and they delivered.
Krause came off the bench for her third straight double-figure game and sixth of the season.
"She is a weapon off the bench when she gets hot," Raymond said. "The one thing we have is lot of streaky shooters and when they can get hot they can really pour in points quickly for us.
"Offensively we are spreading the ball around. We have multiple players who are hot right now from the outside. I think we have good balance and we are also attacking the basket well."
Most importantly, though, it's defense.
"Today was a step forward," said Raymond, a 1992 Viator grad. " Against Elk Grove (77-53 win on Tuesday) we had a hard time with our transition defense, and today was a little better. I think we came out and really concentrated on defense and made some improvement."