Drye gets her chance to step up for Timothy Christian
Freshman guard Maddie Drye has come far since being a spectator for the Timothy Christian girls basketball program's middle school night in 2019.
At the annual event Monday, Drye was a varsity starter along with freshman Grace Roland after they helped last year's Timothy Middle School eighth-graders lose only once.
"It's a little weird because I was not really expecting to be on varsity. It's just really cool to look at all of the people who are out here working really hard," Drye said.
"I think we always work well and like we always say on the team, everyone's a freshman so everyone's equal and I really think we play like that. No one is worth more or less on the court."
With an important Metro Suburban Red game on the line, Drye played like a veteran.
Her steal and free throw in the double bonus were among many clutch plays that carried the Trojans to a 43-41 victory over Chicago Christian in Elmhurst to remain second in the MSC Red, one game behind Aurora Christian.
With the Trojans (18-5, 7-1) leading 42-39, Drye stole the ball just outside the 3-point arc and was fouled with 24.0 seconds. Drye made the second free throw to increase the lead to 4.
The Knights' Kelsey Wolterink scored with 1.5 seconds left, but after timeouts, Drye inbounded to Sureya Alex and the buzzer sounded before the Knights could foul.
"I just knew that they were going to try and shot that 3," Drye said. "I saw the ball and I just went for it because you don't always get the opportunity like that where the ball's right in front of you. We had to go for it."
The Trojans led by 12 in the third quarter but saw Chicago Christian (8-16, 3-7) score 8 straight points to take its only lead at 39-38 with 1:48 left.
Timothy standouts Hannah Schuringa and Alex responded. Schuringa put the Trojans back ahead 40-39 with 1:36 left, and Alex's free throws for the 42-39 lead came with 31.0 seconds.
"(Our players) stood their ground when we needed to," Timothy coach Jill Groenewold said. "It wasn't our best night. It's one of those games where you learn from it, kind of reflect a little bit and hopefully it burns a little bit and you remember that the next time you're in that situation."
Schuringa and Alex had 13 and 12 points, respectively. The 6-foot-2 Roland had 8 points, 7 rebounds and 4 blocks, and Drye added 6 points and handled the team's pre- and postgame prayers for the first time.
"I was a little nervous, but it's just something I wanted to do at least once," Drye said.
Wolterink, a 6-foot-3 senior, was an inside force with 18 points, 17 rebounds and 6 blocks, and Renee Powers had 12 points with two 3s.
The Knights were 0 for 7 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter, including three one-and-bonus chances.
Schuringa couldn't get shots to fall in the fourth quarter but found an inner calmness to sink her free throws.
"Pretty much what was going through my mind was if I hit this (free throw) shot or not, I'm a child of God and that's all that matters," Schuringa said. "We practice free throws a lot, like any other team. I just relaxed and shot them."
Schuringa said the Trojans may have been slightly lax after winning their earlier meeting 45-26 Dec. 3 despite knowing Chicago Christian was far from full strength. The Knights were minus three starters, including Powers.
Roland also was missed after she fouled out early in the fourth quarter with Timothy ahead 38-31.
"When (Roland) fouled out, we all just hung out heads," Schuringa said. "After that we were a little frustrated with that happening and some of the calls. And just the way the game was going. We did not have the momentum."
The Trojans remain hopeful to win a second straight conference title. They probably will need to win at Aurora Christian after losing 44-41 Dec. 21 in Elmhurst, but first they must beat third-place Wheaton Academy, Guerin and Elmwood Park.
Timothy is 10-1 since the Aurora Christian loss.
"The playoffs and conference is really important to us," Drye said. "I think we have to bring our goals, like winning conference, every game and it kind of has to push us to play to the best of our ability."