St. Charles East's 3-point shooting sinks Fremd
St. Charles East senior guard Torrie Kortan had ample motivation for Tuesday's game against Fremd.
On paper, the Saints were looking for a signature early-season victory against the defending Class 4A state champions to build momentum for the first month.
But Kortan was more focused on the short term. A four-year varsity player, Kortan struggled shooting the ball in the Saints' opener on Monday.
"I had first-game jitters," Kortan said. "I'm always excited, especially for my senior year. I think that was the problem. I had high expectations going into our first game that I was going to shoot well. I just didn't from that first shot, and I think I just got into my own head."
Kortan showed her veteran poise, shrugging off her first-game frustrations with a stellar showing on Tuesday. Kortan drilled three 3-pointers for a team-high 13 points to lead the Saints to a 49-44 victory over the Vikings at the York Thanksgiving Tournament in Elmhurst.
The Saints (2-0) set the tone with four 3s in the first quarter, finishing with 8 in the first half and 10 for the game.
"We value shooting in our program and spend a lot of time shooting and have multiple 3-point shooters and give them the green light," St. Charles East coach Michael Murphy said. "Tori is our most experienced player. She told me last night she didn't play up to her standards, but she came ready to play today. She was tough."
The Vikings (1-1) were hampered from the outset, with senior forward Brianna Wooldridge still on the sidelines. The Vikings were led by Maddy Fay's 18 points.
"St. Charles East came out ready to play, and we didn't," Fremd coach Dave Yates said. "To me, that was the game right there. We have a very young group that's learning how to play. You have to give credit to them, for shooting the ball well. It's early in the season. You have to show up to play. We're going to be fine when everybody heals up. We got outplayed."
The Saints seized control of the game by jumping out to an 8-1 lead, but the Vikings managed to mount a comeback to seize the lead for the final few minutes of the opening quarter.
But the Saints regained control of the game and never trailed after two early second-quarter threes by Lexi DiOrio (8 points). Olivia Kiefer and Emma Yakey (10 points) drilled consecutive 3s to pad the lead to 31-21 late in the first half.
"I feel 3s are better than 2s, so that's the bottom line," Kortan said. "We really focus on shooting in practice, and we shot well tonight."
The Vikings managed to close the gap to 36-30 late in the third behind the solid play of Fay and Kace Urlacher, but the Saints buckled down on defense to close out the win.
"We're trying to be like a Fremd," Murphy said. "We talked about all their accomplishments throughout the years, from Haley Gorecki to other players. Our kids were locked in and knew they had to play their best against a team like Fremd."