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Prep Girls Basketball Insider: Saints want peaks, not valleys

St. Charles East’s Anna Bartels is closely defended by Geneva’s Sami Pawlak during a game Dec. 6 at St. Charles East.
St. Charles East’s Anna Bartels is closely defended by Geneva’s Sami Pawlak during a game Dec. 6 at St. Charles East.

St. Charles East turned the see-saw upward once again with Tuesday's 61-50 road win at Streamwood, improving to a league-leading 4-0 in the Upstate Eight Conference River Division.

Two nights earlier, Saints coach Lori Drumtra lamented a 51-48 loss to Conant as "a pretty abysmal night all the way around."

While the Conant game may not have counted in the conference standings, it still came on the heels of a breakthrough overtime win against two-time defending River champion Geneva earlier last week.

"We had gone from the peak of the thrill of having such a great, exciting game against Geneva to playing very poorly [Saturday]," Drumtra said. "We need to be more consistent than that, and I expect us to be more consistent with the veterans we have. It's frustrating, but I know they get frustrated, too."

Steady scoring from Paige Jordan and Carly Pottle has lifted East lately. "Consistency" isn't just a recent buzzword, either. Drumtra cited it often during preseason, especially when related to last winter, when the Saints split with three of the six other River teams.

East has defeated Larkin, St. Charles North, Geneva and Streamwood in conference play the first time through, and still has two games each with Batavia and Elgin remaining.

Here come the Sabres
Streamwood already was on many teams' radars entering the season, but a 53-45 victory at Geneva Wednesday helped the Sabres spread the word to any others.

Senior wing Jessica Cerda, who recovered from a rough shooting night against East to score 23 points at Geneva, lent her thoughts on what has become a muddled River race.

"There's great teams this year. A lot of teams lost players, but I still think everybody has a really good chance in getting conference," Cerda said. "All we need to is just worry about ourselves. Make sure that we have a good offensive game, defensive game, and we should be good."

It's been awhile
Geneva will take a break from River play until visiting St. Charles North on Jan. 5.

The Vikings, 3-2 in the conference, have multiple league losses for the first time since 2007-08, when Batavia edged Geneva for the Western Sun title.

Entering the season, Geneva had lost just one conference game since the beginning of 2008-09.

Erin Bayram
Batavia, Jr., C
What she did:
Recovered from a torn ACL that cut her sophomore season short, Bayram has scored at least 15 points in three of the team's first five games this month. Of Monday's 16-point effort against Minooka, Bulldogs coach Kevin Jensen said: "Some real nice post-ups, a 15 foot jump shot. One of her better games."

Kaneland's defense
What the Knights did:
Although Tuesday's loss at DeKalb marked its first defeat of the season, Kaneland has allowed just under 32 points per game in three Northern Illinois Big 12 East contests. The Knights' rematch with the Barbs is set for this coming Tuesday.

Someone tucked the Fountain of Youth away on Rocket Hill. Sparked by a roster that includes seven freshmen and sophomores among its 10 members, Central continued its season-opening surge with a 61-17 blowout at Harvard Wednesday. The Rockets, 8-1 and 3-0 in the Big Northern East, are set to begin play in the McHenry Tournament tonight.

How Batavia rebounds to close its run in the Oswego Invitational. The Bulldogs opened tournament play with routs of Glenbard East and Minooka before losing, 80-46, to powerhouse Neuqua Valley in Wednesday's semifinals. With eight wins, the Bulldogs are just five shy of last season's total, but the way they respond from Wednesday is an equally important measuring stick.

Who woulda thought Kaneland would be Chronicle Country's longest-winded participant in the undefeated dance contest?

The Knights started the season with seven straight wins before losing to DeKalb this week, relying on an attacking defense that so far has created just enough points.

A 31-17 loss to the Barbs bucked that trend, but the Knights get a quick turnaround with their rivals as the teams are set to meet again next week.

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