SCHAUMBURG – With the second half about to begin, five Stevenson Patriots stood on the court ready to resume play, but St. Charles East was nowhere to be found. The Saints were late to the second half.
It was only by a little bit, but East showing up late was a pretty fitting image. Through the first 16 minutes of the team’s fourth game of the Schaumburg Tournament on Tuesday night, the Saints struggled mightily. It wasn’t until the second half that things began to turn around, but by then it was, well, too late, as East went on to fall to Stevenson by a final score of 71-48.
“It was disappointing,” East head coach Lori Drumtra said. “We talked a lot and worked a lot about our defensive play. We’re still figuring that out, and we’re still not playing well. That’s been kind of our focus, believe it or not, to not give up that many points per game and that many layups. So we still have to figure it out.”
The first half went about as poorly as it could have for the Saints, with turnovers, missed shots and defensive struggles snowballing to produce a 20-point halftime hole.
East turned things around in the second half, scoring 37 of its 48 points over the final two quarters. Amanda Hilton contributed 10 of her team-high 13 points in the second half, leading the offensive rejuvenation for the Saints.
But Stevenson kept doing what it had done to build its big lead, remaining very aggressive by completing full-court passes for easy layups and leaning heavily on Taylor Buford, who led all scorers with 23 points.
“She’s a great player, tough on the drive, definitely can take it to the basket,” Hilton said. “She showed us that we need to work on that. So against teams that drive a lot, we need to work on how to stop them getting into the paint and stop them from driving so they can shoot the outside shot. Great player, she knew what she was doing, she led the team well. Props to her.”
The loss is the third in four games for the Saints so far in the tournament, with one game remaining Friday versus Trinity. Both Drumtra and Hilton admired the level of competition in the tournament, and said that though the record isn’t where they want it to be, it’s taught the team a lot.
“We’ve been in this tournament year after year after year,” Drumtra said. “We kind of enter it with the mind set that it’s going to show us what we need to work on, and it’s certainly done that. We’ve played very tough competition. That’s one of the things that we know in this tournament, that there’s no easy games. So we want to see what we need to work on, kind of get ready because conference starts the week after Thanksgiving. It’s always been a good eye-opener for us.
“Going into conference, we have a much better idea of where we’re at.”