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Ailing Claussner, Saints fend off Batavia

ST. CHARLES – You’d never know St. Charles East guard Katie Claussner was suffering from a nasty case of bronchitis as her Saints took on Batavia on Saturday night.

The senior netted 17 points to lead her team to the Upstate Eight Conference River win over the Bulldogs, 59-48. The win puts the Saints’ record at 15-7 overall and 10-2 in conference play, keeping them in second place.

"It went great, couldn’t ask for a better game,” said Claussner, who averages 18 points. “It was really difficult because every time I inhale it’s like fire going down my throat. But I’m feeling much better than if it’d been a loss.”

The Saints and Bulldogs traded leads several times during the first half, with Batavia trailing at halftime, 23-22. The Saints were down 45-43 with 3 minutes left in the game when they went on an 8-0 run, including back-to-back 3-pointers. 

Senior Kyra Washington hit a 3, and sophomore guard Samantha Munroe followed, as East pulled ahead, 49-45. Munroe followed her 3-pointer with a layup to complete the run, putting the Saints up 51-45.  

“I think hitting those 3’s was the turning point,” Washington said. “We had a lot of momentum and were able to keep the lead. Those 3’s gave us a boost.”

Washington had three 3-pointers, finishing with 14 points in the game. 

Batavia junior center Hannah Frazier led all scorers with 27 points, while forward Shea Bayram had nine points for the Bulldogs. 

East coach Lori Drumtra said she was proud of how her team played. She said she wasn’t sure what to expect after last week’s win over first-place Geneva.

“I knew it was gonna be a tough game. They [Batavia] were tough on us the first time we played them,” Drumtra said. “We handed Geneva their first conference loss, which was such a high, and sometimes there’s a little bit of a let-down. But we weathered the storm.”

Drumtra said she was also impressed with how Claussner played, despite being sick. 

“Batavia did a great job containing her,” she said. “I took her out a lot in the first half to rest her, but she’s such a competitor. She gave me everything she had.”

Claussner said she wasn’t sure if she’d be able to play because she was so sick Friday night. 

“It’s my senior year so I had to do it," she said. "I wasn’t sure if I could play the whole game. But coach Drumtra let me sleep until game time and she gave me enough rest."

Batavia coach Kevin Jensen said he was mostly pleased with his team’s effort.

“We got beat on two 3-pointers,” Jensen said. “I thought we did a decent job. I told the girls I was proud and super-pumped with how they played. We did the right things to get ready and we played a complete game.”

The Bulldogs fell to 13-13 overall, 6-5 in UEC River play. Jensen said he’s trying to stay positive, despite a disappointing loss. 

“We did all the right things at all the right times. But sometimes it doesn’t go your way," Jensen said. "But if you keep doing it, eventually things will work out for you. We held a star player [Claussner] to her average, and that’s a win for us.” 

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