Schaumburg gets past Palatine
Usually during the prep basketball season teams play a nonconference game the day after playing a conference or divisional game.
However, due to the MLK Holiday, both the Palatine and Schaumburg girls teams had their respective schedules reversed where both competed at Batavia's MLK showcase on Monday and had to face a quick turnaround for Tuesday's Mid-Suburban West tilt at the Saxons' home court that completed the first half of division play.
With both teams played with a sense of urgency to procure a key victory that could help improve their respective sectional seeds when they are voted on in less than three weeks, the host Saxons (12-8, 2-3) emerged on top with a 50-42 win on their Senior Night.
"I think we needed to make a statement today," Schaumburg coach Jacquie Strauch said as her team swept the season series from the Pirates. "It's like that second round of (division). If you beat them once you've got to do it again. So there are those games that are really important."
Both teams traded the lead over the game's first 21 minutes until Audrey Schluckbier's 3-pointer gave the Saxons the lead for good (37-34) with 2:28 left in the third.
It was at that point those in attendance were treated to a scoring duel on the hardwood between a pair of seniors -- Schaumburg's Alyssa Orozco and her Palatine counterpart Madi Stark. Stark (team-high 16 points, 7 rebounds) would score 12 of those points in the second half while Orozco (game-high 18 points, 8 rebounds) had 9 points in the second half including a drive inside and a subsequent pair of free throws that gave the Saxons the breathing room they needed at 48-42 with 50 seconds left. Those 4 points by Orozco came after Stark was called for an offensive foul away from the ball with 1:48 left as the Pirates were seeking a tie or a possible lead trailing 44-42.
"Madi Stark is a beast," Strauch said. "She's tough and will not go down easy. We did everything that we possibly could and then some and in the end they did a little bit of (the big) things to fire off that block. I think that saved us in the end."
"We definitely had a battle and had to work on both offense and defense to stop (her) and get the win," Orozco said.
Orozco was feted with fellow seniors Kim Kolodziej, Julia Wiecek, Marisa Vodicka, and Madi Dolecki prior to the contest.
In addition, Orozco was presented with a commemorative basketball that celebrated her reaching the 1,000-point plateau last month by former Saxon hoopster Mallory Gerber (2014-17), who was last in the program's history to reach that milestone.
"It was an amazing moment definitely with my team cheering me on and passing me the ball that I scored my 1,000th point on," Orozco said.
"It was definitely special."