Groenewold's 200th win a regional title for Timothy Christian
Everybody played. Everybody contributed. Nobody got hurt.
Oh, and the Timothy Christian girls basketball team won its first regional title in two years Friday, and in the process handed coach Jill Groenewold her 200th career victory.
On Valentine's Day you might say everything came up roses for the Trojans in their 57-28 drubbing of host Chicago Christ the King, which placed them in the sectional semifinals at 6 p.m. Monday at Chicago Orr.
Timothy Christian jumped out to a 28-2 lead at the end of the first quarter and never looked back en route to a 23-7 record and a date with DePaul Prep on Monday.
Despite missing junior center Greta Hoogstra, who is out for the season, and junior forward Campbell Marshall, who was sick, the Trojans got plenty of help from junior Sureya Alex, who hit a trifecta of 3-pointers and ended up with 17 points.
Junior forward Hannah Schuringa added 16 points, 14 in the first half, and freshman center Grace Roland added 8 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks.
It was one of those odd games where, by virtue of size, athleticism and record, Timothy Christian was expected to roll. But there's always that concern about letting up, especially with a big lead.
Not so for the Trojans. And that's a good thing, heading into the sectional semifinals.
"We can't practice bad habits," Alex said. "If we're going to play next week, we don't have teams that will let us play and win with that habit, so there's no point in letting go, It's the playoffs, you have to go and play hard."
Added junior forward Sarah Carstensen, who contributed 7 boards, a block and 2 points: "We've had some games where we played really well in the first half and came out slow in the third quarter, and so for us, it was really important to come out strong and keep pushing."
Exactly right. The Trojans staked themselves to a 38-5 halftime lead, and it might have been tempting to mail it in the second half. But they didn't, posting an 11-3 run punctuated by a 3 by Alex quickly followed by two other buckets for a 7-0 personal run.
The team plans to keep the pedal to the metal over the weekend, because DePaul Prep is no pushover at 21-8. In other words things just got real.
"We can't practice poorly, because they're not going to be easy games anymore," Roland said.
"We don't want our season to end, and in the end, that's our motivation," Alex added. "Work hard, play the game as hard as we can and give it our all, because if we lose, our season is over and we don't want that."
And as for Groenewold's 200th win, well ... she didn't even know it.
"My AD is doing his work, I guess," she said with a laugh, referencing her boss, Jack LeGrand. "I don't keep track of that kind of stuff. I've been a way for a little while from the varsity level, and so it's nice going into the end of the season, winning that, it's icing on the cake. It's been a great season."