York snaps Maine South's 16-game winning streak
Stella Kohl knew.
So did Mariann Blass.
The pair of York girls basketball players were well aware of Maine South's 16-game winning streak before the teams met at York Saturday afternoon in Elmhurst.
"Oh, yeah," Blass, a senior guard, said after she and the Dukes -- No. 10 in the Daily Herald rankings -- downed South's No. 2 Hawks 50-42.
"Snapped their streak," chimed a smiling Kohl, a 5-foot-11 guard who owns a bunch of forward skills.
Snap, crackle, pop no longer just describes a certain Kellogg's cereal. York played that brand of basketball, minus the milk, at Campbell Gym, particularly during its scintillating 15-2 run in the second quarter of the nonconference contest.
The game-turning stretch featured a Kohl block, which triggered a fast break conducted by junior guard Hannah Meyers. Meyers fed a spot-on pass to Blass, whose ensuing layup widened York's lead to 28-17 at the 2:25 mark.
"Our energy," Blass said of what made the difference versus the state's sixth-ranked team in the AP's Class 4A poll. "We played with a lot of it at the start and kept it up.
"We also stayed calm under pressure."
York (17-5) received balanced scoring in the matinee, paced by Kohl's 14 points and 10 apiece from Blass and senior guard Lizzie Baldridge. Meyers and sophomore guard Anna Filosa (2 treys) each netted 6.
Maine South (19-4), coming off a defeat of Central Suburban League South foe Glenbrook South on Friday night, trailed 32-19 at the half and 41-28 after three quarters.
The Hawks last lost in ... November, when Thanksgiving leftovers took up residence in listing refrigerators everywhere.
"Congratulations to York," Hawks coach Jeff Hamann said. "York is a good team; we're a good team. York was better today. Their pressure (the Dukes amassed 10 steals, 7 in the first half) got to us; we didn't handle it well, made some uncharacteristic mistakes.
"We'll learn from this."
Offensive rebounding also lifted the hosts. They came down with 6 such caroms in the third frame, when both squads scored 9 points.
Maine South allowed only one field goal (a basket off the hands of York senior guard Allison Sheehan) in the final quarter. But York made 7 free throws -- 4 by Sheehan -- in the same frame to secure the satisfying victory.
Maine South got as close as 43-37 down with 2:37 left, following a pair of freebies from sophomore guard Katie Barker (13 points, 4 rebounds). Sheehan (team-high 7 rebounds), off a Blass assist, then hit a bucket 17 seconds after a Maine South timeout.
The combined sighs of relief from York's no-longer-on-the-edge-of-their-seat fans could be heard in parts of St. Charles.
Ever-dangerous Hawks junior guard Ava Blagojevich (14 points, 4 3-pointers, 4 rebounds, 3 steals) struck for the visitors' final 4 points in a 1:16 span.
"It's up there at the top," Dukes coach Brandon Collings said of where Saturday's triumph ranks in his club's Significant Wins category. "This was a game we knew we'd have to be up for as soon as we saw it on our schedule at the beginning of the season. We had played like this (fearless, tireless, scrappy defense) in our five losses. But we shot under 30 percent in all of them.
"I'm proud of how we played at both ends of the floor today. We made the free throws we had to make and closed it out well."
Maine South junior guard Meegan Fahy tossed in 9 points and had team highs of 5 rebounds and 4 steals.
Meyers and Blass collected 3 steals apiece for York. Kohl finished with 6 rebounds and 2 blocks.
"Everybody hit the ground (to pounce on loose balls)," Blass said. "Our desire to win was there for the entire game."