SCHAUMBURG – The St. Charles East girls basketball team fell, 82-43, to Montini Saturday morning at the Schaumburg Thanksgiving Basketball Tournament, but the game will be remembered for a more uplifting reason.
St. Charles East senior guard Amanda Hilton scored her 1,000th career point on a 3-pointer from the top of the arc at the tail end of a first quarter comeback. Hilton knew she was closing in on the milestone coming in, but she didn’t let it affect her play.
“It was an amazing feeling. I knew I was close but I tried not to think much about it,” Hilton said. “The three is a shot I love taking and right from the top is where I normally take them. Seeing the ball swish through the net was an incredible feeling.”
East coach Lori Drumtra listed Hilton’s hard work and level-headed play as key facets of her game.
“It couldn’t have happened to a better kid," Drumtra said. “She’s worked really hard and she’s the heart and soul. I think she’s probably relieved a little bit that it’s done because it weighs on your mind a little bit.”
Hilton’s milestone basket came when the Saints (1-2) needed it most early on. Perennial power Montini (3-0) jumped out to a 10-0 lead by way of a suffocating full-court press and ability to get to the basket. East then went on a 9-0 run to get back in the game behind seven points from Hilton and a layup by senior forward Hannah Nowling.
The second quarter began with a 14-14 tie, but Montini quickly pulled away after forcing several key turnovers.
“Came out in the second quarter, had two quick turnovers which they converted in to points,” Drumtra said of the second frame. "They had way too may layups, way too many open shots. They’re a great team obviously.”
Montini outscored East, 22-7, in the second quarter and cruised from there. Senior forward Kelly Karlis paced the Broncos with 17 points, with senior guard Kateri Stone close behind with 14 of her own. Montini’s 3-point shooting was strong across the board, with six players hitting from long range.
Hilton finished with 13, junior guard Katelyn Claussner had eight, junior guard/forward Kyra Washington scored seven and Nowling finished with seven as well for the Saints.
Nowling admitted that the Saints faced an uphill battle against Montini, but she was thrilled to be a part of Hilton’s accomplishment.
“Montini is obviously a power and it was great to be up there,” Nowling said. “I’ve been playing with Amanda since sixth grade. It’s a great feeling because she’s such a hard working player and she deserves every point she’s got.”
Drumtra stressed that the Saints’ defense must improve throughout the rest of the tournament.
“Every facet, our on the ball, off the ball, help, rebounding, close outs, everything is not where it needs to be,” Drumstra said. “We’ll do better.”
East will take on Stevenson on Tuesday night in the next round of the Schaumburg tournament.
IMSA Tournament: Rosary defeated Aurora Christian, 71-46, to take third place in the tournament.
Rachel Choice (16 points), Quincy Kellett (15) and Megan Conlin (14) led Rosary (3-1).
Alyssa Andersen and Kirsten Madsen each scored 16 points for Aurora Christian.
• Jake Powers contributed to this report.