Rogers helps cinch Rupp's 100th win
Lake Park star Darrione Rogers has another gear that very few of her peers have. And she needed it on Thursday night.
Thanks to an explosive 6-point stretch late by Rogers, the Lancers escaped a spirited comeback by St. Charles East for a 48-45 DuKane Conference victory in Roselle.
"I was just stepping up and doing whatever it takes for us to get the win," said Rogers, a DePaul commit who compiled 30 points, 12 rebounds, 4 steals and block in the win. "This is a big game for us, being at home, especially if we want to win conference, so I just stepped up."
The Saints stared down a double-digit deficit most of the game, including into the fourth quarter.
But the visitors used a smothering defense to force 28 Lancers turnovers and never let the game get out of hand.
In the final quarter St. Charles East started making shots and had Lake Park on its heels. Led by Torrie Kortan's 9 fourth-quarter points, the Saints were within 42-40 with three minutes to play.
"It's something we have consistently said all along: They play hard all the time," Saints coach Aubree Schuett said of her team. "That coupled with some faith and some success, they started to feed off that and turned it up a notch.
"And Torrie contributed in her way. She's someone we can rely on to be that calm in the storm. The girls really rally around that."
It was not a one-possession game for long, however.
Rogers imposed her will all over the floor during a 6-point scoring burst that featured three straight dribble drives and finishes through traffic.
"Honestly, it was just attack mode," she said. "I knew in my mind I needed to get to the basket and I knew in my mind I might get fouled if I go up strong, so I just went up strong with the ball."
The Saints still didn't fold, as two late buckets by Kortan, who had a team-high 16 points, trimmed the deficit to 3 points. But it was too late, and Lake Park gained another league win, its seventh versus just one loss, tops in the DuKane.
Despite losing the turnover battle 28-17, Lake Park dominated inside, more than doubling St. Charles East's rebounding total, to help them eke out the victory.
"It's one of those grind-out, second-half-of-the-season games on a Thursday night," said Lake Park coach Brian Rupp, who earned his 100th win as Lancers coach. "We're fortunate to get the win and stay on top of the (conference)."
Early, it looked like a rout was in progress. Lake Park jumped out to leads of 7-0 and 12-2.
Though Rogers' perimeter shooting was off, she racked up points and rebounds from the post, entering halftime with 18 points and 6 rebounds.
But St. Charles East never let the game get out of control, and despite ultimately losing, kept pace with the league leader.
"We've been preaching the whole time what we think this group is capable of," Schuett said. "Tonight they believed in themselves and what we've been talking about all season long. They are at the point where they are playing well together and having fun.
"We didn't win the basketball game, but we competed with one of the best teams in the conference. So, I'm good with it as long as we continue to get better."
The Saints were led by Kortan, as well as Makenna Brown, who had 9 points, and Leah Griffin and Gabby Schmidt had scored six apiece.
Supporting Rogers for the Lancers were Sara Balli with 8 points and 8 rebounds, and Emma Thorne with 3 points, 8 rebounds and 4 steals.