WHEATON – The length of top seeded Wheaton Warrenville South proved too difficult to overcome for the St. Charles North girls basketball team as the North Stars fell, 62-41, Tuesday in the semifinals of the IHSA Class 4A Wheaton Warrenville South Regional.
The North Stars (9-20) were led offensively by 12 second quarter points from sophomore guard Nicole Davidson.
Davidson, who ended the game with 12 points, followed a 3-pointer with a layup plus a foul shot to cut the Tigers’ lead to 11 with 6:50 left in the first half. But North couldn’t sustain momentum, ending a difficult season with a rotation featuring numerous underclassmen.
“As a team we wanted to work together – we should have had a better start, but we got it together in the second half,” Davidson said. “At the beginning of the season we didn’t really play as a team, we were individuals, but at the end we were playing for the seniors. We wanted to play for them and have them end their season on a good note.”
The Tigers (27-3) ended the first half with a 13-point lead, and their superior size allowed them to dominate the boards in the first half by 21-7 margin. Five of those rebounds came on the offensive end, leading to easy layups.
Overall, the Tigers won the rebounding battle 36-14 and were led by senior post Diamond Thompson. Thompson used her size down low to score using a variety of low post moves, and her team looked to her often as she led all scores with 22 points.
St. Charles North coach Colleen Backer said the Tigers’ size was difficult for her team to handle.
“Obviously it was difficult for us ... We had a lot of difficulty in the paint and getting stops on ‘D’,” she said. “Across the board, we had a hard time adjusting to it.”
In the second half, the Tigers used an 18-7 third quarter to put the game out of reach. The team’s length made its 2-3 zone effective by clogging the lane and forcing the North Star to rely on their outside shooting. The Tigers had three other players score in double figures as Melinda Franke, Olivia Linebarger and Meghan Waldron had 10, 10 and 12 points respectively.
North Stars senior guard Alex Silverman ended with 11 points in her final high school game. Silverman is one of four seniors on the team and part of a young team that starts two freshmen and a sophomore. Overall, Silverman said she wanted to provide positive leadership forher teammates.
“Of course I want to lead by example, we have a really young team and I want to try and show them what you have to do to lead a team ... I tried my best, and I hope it’s enough to do a little bit better next year,” Silverman said.
Silverman said she witnessed the confidence of the team grow from the beginning of the year to now. With more experience, Silverman said she expects to continue to see improvement in her teammates.
Despite the team’s final record, Backer said her team has a lot to be proud of.
“I would say our overall effort this season, overall competition from the girls and their unity as a team,” she said. “Really enjoying being around each other, constantly working hard … always coming and playing, doing what they can to play four quarters together and never give up.”