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Aggressive defense carries St. Charles East girls basketball to win

WHEATON – After a disappointing loss to Lyons Township in the first round of the Bill Neibch Holiday Tournament, the St. Charles East girls basketball team has bounced back with a pair of victories to reach Saturday’s consolation bracket final.

Friday, the Saints (9-7) overwhelmed Waubonsie Valley, 52-27, at Wheaton North, smothering the Warriors (2-12) with aggressive defense.

“The first game [of the tournament] we came out very flat and there’s no excuse for that,” East senior guard Carly Pottle said. “This is who we are. This is how we play.”

Pottle opened the scoring for the Saints with a 3-pointer from the left wing and scored seven of East’s first 14 points. She scored on a steal and layup with three minutes remaining in the first quarter, then hit a short jumper a few seconds later after another Waubonsie Valley turnover to put the Saints up 14-5.

East forced 24 turnovers in the game while making only 12.

“That’s what we have to do because we’re not a super tall team,” East coach Lori Drumtra said. “But we do have some speed and I really tell the perimeter players that because we lack that height, they’re the key. They have to put pressure on those ball handlers so we don’t get taken advantage of inside.”

Pottle and starting back-court mate Amanda Hilton each scored 10 points and sophomore Katie Claussner added nine off the bench.

East also got solid contributions from forwards Laney Deckrow (9 points, 5 rebounds) and Kyra Washington (4 points, 3 blocks, 2 steals). Deckrow’s steal and layup gave the Saints a 33-15 lead early in the third quarter and the Warriors never seriously threatened after that.

East will face Downers Grove North (8-8) in the 9th-place game at 3 p.m.

“I really kind of challenged the girls to up their defense after the first game we played here,” Drumtra said. “I challenged them that they needed to be in the consolation championship game and that’s where they’re at, so I’m real pleased with how they’ve responded, defensively.”

Pottle said she’s looking forward to the second half of the season.

“I’m really happy with where we’re at,” she said. “We’re undefeated in conference right now. We have some huge games coming up. We’re surprising everybody.” 

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