St. Charles East High School
full story »
St. Charles East coach Josh Foster and the bench reacts to a Fighting Saints’ three-point basket during Tuesday’s Class 4A sectional semifinal girls basketball game in Bartlett.
Paul Valade | Staff
St. Charles East stuns top-seed Geneva
Updated Feb 22, 2022 10:32 PM
St. Charles East took its first lead early in the second quarter Tuesday against No. 1 seed Geneva in the Class 4A Bartlett sectional semifinals.The Vikings had almost three quarters to take back control of the game, and do to the Saints what they had in a pair of double-digit regular season victories.But the Saints had the answer — often provided by senior guard Torrie Kortan — for every one of Geneva’s runs. The Vikings never regained the lead, and fourth-seed St. Charles East held on for a 43-42 upset win over a tradition-rich program that has caused them plenty of frustration through the years. “I told them your moms and dads came to support you. Everyone else came to watch you lose,” said Saints coach Josh Foster, who took over the team in January. “Let’s go out there and ruin people’s night. That’s why we came was to ruin someone’s night, and we’ll try to ruin someone else’s night on Thursday.”That would be Wheaton North (22-7), another DuKane Conference rival who St. Charles East (21-6) will play for the sectional championship. The teams split this season.Like her new coach, Kortan never lost confidence despite the lack of regular season success against Geneva.“We knew if we put pressure on them they would eventually fold because usually they are never down like that,” said Kortan, who led the Saints with 16 points.“Everyone always just sees the name on their shirt and gives them the game. We didn’t give them the game this time. Last two times we played them we shot ourselves in the foot. I feel in the end tonight it was us making more hustle plays. We wanted it more I feel like.”Geneva (25-5) had won 21 of its last 22 games including 14 in a row. That streak included 77-64 and 68-52 wins over the Saints.The Vikings didn’t come close to that offensive output Tuesday. Caroline Madden banked in a 3-pointer to give Geneva a 5-0 lead to start the game — then they missed their next 16 from beyond the arc. The Vikings shot just 26.2% (16 for 61) from the field and also hurt themselves by making just 7 of 14 free throws.“That’s something we normally are good at,” Geneva coach Sarah Meadows said of the 3-point misses. “We are good at getting to the rim and we are good at kicking it out and hitting the 3. They just weren’t falling. We didn’t shoot well at the free-throw line. You give up 7 points there in a close game and it’s huge.”Trailing 11-6 after one quarter, the Saints scored the first seven points of the second quarter. Kortan’s steal and assist to sophomore Alexis Maridis for a layup put St. Charles East up 13-11 in what turned out to be the only lead change of the game.Cali Perez opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer for the Saints to make it 25-16, their biggest lead. Geneva turned up its defensive pressure, and after not forcing a single turnover in the first half, got 11 in the second.That helped the Vikings pull even at 27-27 on Zosia Wrobel’s layup after a steal and assist by Rilee Hasegawa. Kortan answered with a conventional 3-point play and then a 3-point shot as the Saints took a 33-31 lead to the fourth quarter.Geneva tied the game twice in the fourth, the final time when Cassidy Arni finally ended the Vikings’ 3-point drought with a corner 3 to make it 37-37 with 2:14 to go.Emma Yakey immediately put the Saints up again with a long 3-pointer of her own on a Kortan assist. Lexi DiOrio split free throws for a 41-37 lead at 1:18. Arni’s drive brought the Vikings within 41-39, and they fouled Kortan with :17.5 left for pressure free throws.
full story »
Geneva tops St. Charles East, clinches share of DuKane crown
Updated Feb 3, 2022 10:26 PM
In a sign of the times, scouting has become more convenient for St. Charles East girls basketball coach Josh Foster — like most coaches.Which certainly doesn’t make playing Geneva any easier.“Now it’s so easy to watch film with Hudl and this and that, and I’ve watched every conference game,” Foster said Thursday night following a 75-64 loss to Geneva that clinched a share of the DuKane Conference championship for the Vikings.“They just find a way to win. You have that many skilled players, somebody steps up. They are very balanced. It makes it tough to win against a team like that.”The Vikings (20-4, 12-0) flashed that balance while not only clinching a share of the title but ending a 6-game winning streak for St. Charles East (16-6. 7-5).Junior Lauren Slagle led four Geneva players in double figures with 23 points and also grabbed 7 rebounds. The Vikings can clinch the DuKane outright by beating either Wheaton North on Saturday or Lake Park next week.“Our conference, there are so many individual girls who are amazing. We are grateful to have a good conference because it gets us ready for regional, sectionals. The competition is amazing,” Slagle said.“Tonight, we came out strong. We have something to prove, we want to be undefeated in conference. Tonight we played together,”The Saints took a couple early leads, the final one coming at 12-9 when Torrie Kortan hit a 3-pointer midway through a high-scoring first quarter.Geneva quickly answered with back-to-back baskets by Slagle to go up 13-12, and the Vikings didn’t trail again. A putback by Slagle, Cassidy Arni’s layup and a 3-pointer by Leah Palmer completed a 12-0 Geneva run for a 21-12 lead, which stood at 23-14 after the first quarter.A 3-pointer from Saints sophomore Lexi Diorio early in the second quarter closed the gap to 23-21, but the Vikings soon heated up again with that balanced attack and by halftime led 33-24. The margin stood at 55-40 through three quarters and the Saints got no closer than 7 points in the fourth.“Our team has so much chemistry on and off the court,” Slagle said. “Our hunger and our passion as a team, on and off the court, we are best friends. I think that helps. We come out and we fight.”Zosia Wrobel and Palmer followed Slagle with 17 points each, Arni scored 11 with 8 rebounds and 5 assists, and Caroline Madden hit a pair of 3-pointers while scoring 8.“It wasn’t pretty but we got through it,” Vikings coach Sarah Meadows said. “We are putting it together. There are times we have to be a little more disciplined, a little more under control. Once you get into postseason you are going to have to be able to execute in the half court. You aren’t going to be able to run and gun. We have to grow a little bit there.”Kortan led the Saints with 21 points and 5 rebounds. Diorio scored 19 points and Cali Papez had 12.“We are finding our stride,” Foster said. “We have to start another streak here. “I told the girls they (Geneva) have been winning for a long time, you aren’t going to get a majority of the calls or the bounces. They are tough. They are all big and skilled. I thought if the shots we normally make would have gone in in the second and third quarters we would have won the game.”