South Elgin shakes off slow start, blows by Buffalo Grove
Once South Elgin knocked the rust off, everything went smoothly for the Storm.
The Storm outscored Buffalo Grove 33-10 during the middle periods and rolled on to a 57-43 win Monday in the opening round of the Dundee-Crown Komaromy Classic in Carpentersville. South Elgin will play Lake Park at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in the quarterfinals.
Early on the Storm, playing their first game in more than a week, seemed to be feeling the aftereffects of a few too many Christmas cookies. And the Bison took advantage, snapping up loose balls and building an 18-14 lead early in the second quarter.
But then someone flipped the switch. The Storm scored the final 16 points of the first half, then continued the surge after intermission, eventually building a 52-24 lead.
Caroline Croft and Zoie Lewis scored 14 points apiece to lead the balanced Storm attack. Raina Yang added 13 points and Ella Winterhalder added 8 for South Elgin (11-1). Lewis also grabbed 10 rebounds.
Leah McKenna had 10 points and 13 rebounds for the Bison.
"Everyone's going to come out a little bit flat," said Storm coach Dan Mandernack. "We didn't play in over a week. We're coming off a loss so I told them that we've got to get our hunger back and get a new streak going. We're going to be playing awesome teams here at this tournament and we've got to throw the first punch. And we came out not coming to the ball and not being strong."
The Storm's comeback started with their defense. They switched from a man-to-man to a zone press and began creating the turnovers that led to easy chances offensively.
"It's our defense," Mandernack said. "We're small but we're scrappy and our press is really good."
"We're a defensive-first team," said Winterhalder. "With those scrappy steals, they tend to get us all going and we feed off of each other. It doesn't matter who scores, it's how we get it there and I think we got the job done."
The Bison scored the game's first 6 points, and still led by 4 when a reverse 3-point play started the Storm's run.
Caitlyn Tolentino made 1 of 2 free throws. Lewis rebounded the miss and put it back.
A bucket by Yang put the Storm ahead to stay with 4:21 left in the first half. A 3-pointer by Lewis, a basket by Chloe Kmiec, a basket by Croft, a steal and transition layup by Lewis and a basket by Ariana Lopez made it 30-18 by halftime.