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Metea Valley towers over St. Charles East

The Metea Valley girls basketball team came to St. Charles and used its height advantage and strong inside play to take a first-quarter lead and held on to earn a 65-59 win on the road in Upstate Eight Conference crossover action Friday in St. Charles.

Metea Valley (8-3) used the presence of the 6-2 Lori Obendorf (24 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks and two steals) and the 6-2 Anna Petersen (six points, 11 rebounds) to disrupt the smaller Saints (6-6) on both ends of the floor.

“Before the game we talked about having a height advantage, and our guards took advantage of it by getting us the ball inside,” Obendorf said. “Even if we don’t shoot, we can affect the game by passing it back outside for jump shots, so it is nice to have that balance.

“Definitely being taller than our opponent is nice, getting hands on shots or just disrupting them. Whenever we got out on them and got a hand in their face they couldn’t score. And it is always fun to block shots.”

Saints’ coach Lori Drumtra said the Saints had a hard time containing Metea Valley’s inside game, especially in the first half when the Mustangs took a four-point lead.

“Give them credit, they do a nice job playing to their strengths,” she said. “They definitely affected us with their inside game.

“They had too many easy baskets in the first half. We addressed it at halftime and did a better job in the second half.”

In the fourth quarter, Metea Valley held off a couple runs by the Saints, who got to within four on a bucket by Carly Pottle early in the quarter and five three times, but could not get any closer until getting back to within four with 38 seconds left.

“We have been working hard with handling pressure when the other team makes a run,” Obendorf said.

“We broke down and lost to Naperville Central and Neuqua Valley, when we were ahead the entire game and lost. We just needed to calm down, keep our composure and we knew we’d be fine.”

Drumtra said the Saints were oh-so-close a few times to changing the momentum in the fourth quarter.

“Carly had a three-pointer that I thought for sure was in, and it bounced out,” she said. “That would have been a key point in the game. We also missed some easy layups at key points in the game.”

East gave up the final eight points of the first quarter to trail 18-10 before cutting the lead to four, 32-28, at the half. Amanda Hilton scored 11 in the half to lead the Saints, while Obendorf went off for 19 to pace the Mustangs in the first 16 minutes.

Adding to the Saints’ problems inside was their tallest player, 6-1 Kyra Washington, briefly left the game in the second quarter after taking an elbow to the teeth, drawing blood. She returned before the end of the half and finished the game with 10 points.

The Saints shutout Obendorf in the third quarter, but could not shave even one point off the Mustangs’ lead, trailing 47-43 heading into the final quarter.

Hilton led the Saints with 17 points and also had three assists, while Paige Jordan added 15 points and Hannah Nowling pulled down eight rebounds.

Jenny Voytell added 15 points for Metea Valley.

“We fought hard against a good team,” Drumtra said. “This was good competition for us. I was real pleased with our effort. We just need to play a little tougher against taller teams, which we face a lot of times.”

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