Culver, St. Francis earn 'amazing' win vs. Glenbard West
St. Francis junior Maggie Culver had a simple explanation for the Spartans' big third quarter Tuesday night.
"We just got hot and we just kept shooting and shooting. And when we got in a rhythm it's hard to stop us," she said.
St. Francis made five 3-pointers in that third quarter, took the lead for good and cruised to a 58-44 girls basketball victory against visiting Glenbard West in Wheaton.
"It's amazing," Culver said of the Class 3A Spartans' win over a Class 4A team. "It's amazing. It feels the best. I mean, we're really working hard. We're a force to reckon with. Don't sleep on us."
Culver led the way with a personal-best 27 points, getting into a rhythm with five 3-pointers of her own.
It took a few minutes for the Spartans (11-9) to get into that rhythm. St. Francis fell behind 18-7 in the first quarter, then scored the next 14 points to take the lead.
Glenbard West (13-8) responded with an 11-3 spurt to finish the first half and regain the lead.
"First quarter we did a nice job of going inside to (center Taylor Huff) and getting some high-percentage shots," Hilltoppers coach Kristi Faulkner said. "Then they came out strong in the second half and hit a lot of 3s. Give them credit for those shots."
With Culver providing the bulk of the offense and Kate Chaparro, Elizabeth Grivetti and Katie Anne De Craene working hard on defense to stop the Hilltoppers, the Spartans fought back in the third. Culver followed a four-point play midway through the third period with a three-point play to cut the Hilltoppers' lead to 35-34. The Spartans kept going and went into the fourth with an 8-point lead.
Coach Sandy De Craene called it the Spartans' best team performance of the season.
"We shot lights-out, especially in that third quarter," Culver said.
The 6-foot-2 Huff finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Senior Emma Hall added 9 points on three 3-pointers.
"She did a nice job," Faulkner said of Hall. "She's a senior leader. She's a captain. She's been playing hard and has improved tremendously since last year."
Chaparro added 11 points for St. Francis.
"We came to play," coach De Craene said. "We came to play as a team, and it was exciting to watch. I've said it before. We're a young team and trying to put it all together, and I hope this is the start of us keeping it together for the rest of the season. This is where we want to be."