Glenbard South figures out Sterling
ROCHELLE -- Great teams solve problems. It didn't take Glenbard South long to solve the problem Sterling presented.
Sterling duped Glenbard South on several occasions on back screens and quick transitions during the first quarter of Monday's Class 3A Rochelle sectional semifinal.
The Raiders answered by thwarting Sterling's fastbreak and denying the ball inside off screens while doing plenty of tremendous things on the other end of the court in a 49-29 girls basketball victory.
After yielding 15 points in the first quarter, the Raiders only allowed 14 the rest of the game, including just 3 in the second quarter and 1 in the fourth quarter.
"The first quarter was rough," Raiders coach Morgan Kasperek said. "They transitioned really well, and I don't think we were ready for how fast they really were, and they ran that backdoor play on us for 6 quick points."
Despite the strong offensive start by Sterling (24-5), the Golden Warriors trailed 22-15 after one quarter and 33-18 at halftime, because the Raiders were knocking down 3-pointers, Iman Sellars was attacking the basket and making free throws, and Maggie Bair was, well, being her usual self.
Bair finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds, 7 blocks and 5 steals.
"She played really well and we just didn't have an answer for her today," Sterling coach Taylor Jackson said. "We fought really hard and had a lot of heart, but at the end of the day sometimes it doesn't go your way."
Bair's 3-pointer with 6:22 left in the third quarter gave Glenbard South (21-7) its biggest lead to that point, 36-18.
The Golden Warriors responded with a 10-1 run to pull within 37-28 and rev up their fans in the stands who had made the trip, but 12 seconds later Bair drained a 3 and then made an easy 2 inside to open the fourth quarter for a 42-28 lead.
"As the game went on we got a lead and were more confident," Bair said. "Obviously from last week, we know a lead can be blown. We know we're a good team and we need to continue to start with that same confidence because it'll make us even harder to play against."
The Raiders made seven 3-pointers while only allowing 1 on a desperation fadeaway shot to end the opening quarter.
Lauren Cohen made 3 and scored 15 points for the Raiders.
"We were moving the ball really fast and getting people open," she said. "It's always good when we're moving the ball but not rushing it, and then defensively we were tightening things up. They got us a couple times on the backdoor, but we talked about it and fixed it."
Sterling was without 6-foot senior Josi Borum, a basketball and volleyball commit to the University of Chicago, due to a knee injury. Her presence, at the very least, would've given the Golden Warriors another big body in its arsenal against Bair, but right now the Drake University recruit seems to be unstoppable.
"She's a big-time player, an all-stater and she plays like one," Kasperek said. "We're lucky to have her and the supporting cast around her. (Teams) double-team her and do a bunch of things, but Maggie is a threat outside and inside, so what are you going to do?"
The Raiders know what they'll do next -- play for a sectional title Thursday. They'll play the winner of Tuesday's game between Sandwich and Rock Falls.