ST. CHARLES – The St. Charles North girls basketball team put Thursday night’s regular-season finale against Batavia away at a place that’s been good to the North Stars throughout the winter – the free-throw line.
North shot 18 of its 30 free-throw attempts during the fourth quarter, going 15 for 18 in the quarter, as the North Stars pulled away for the 55-39 victory.
North post players Morgan Rosencrants and Claire Jakaitis especially were difficult for Batavia to handle without fouling.
“I think a lot of it has to do with we have two girls who can go inside and we have a slasher in Nichole (Davidson),” North coach Sean Masoncup said. “ … We are constantly going at you, we are constantly pressuring you, both ends of the floor. I think that tends to wear on teams, and they start reaching and they start fouling.”
While surrendering 30 free-throw attempts was costly, the Bulldogs are hardly the only team this season that has seen the fouls pile up while battling the hard-nosed and tall North Stars.
“They attack the rim real well,” Batavia coach Kevin Jensen said. “Nichole goes to the rim hard, they all rebound on the offensive side very well. Even if they don’t get a hand on it, they create opportunities for an opponent to foul them or to get a put-back and an and-one and things like that. I think their attack of the rim with post entry, drive and on the offensive glass is a huge asset for them.”
Batavia (15-14, 8-6 UEC River) scored the first seven points of the third quarter, taking a 26-25 lead on a Mackenzie Foster jumper. But North (18-8, 11-3 UEC River) dominated the rest of the night, outscoring the visitors, 30-13.
Bulldogs post standout Hannah Frazier led all scorers with 18 points, but North surrounded her with tall bodies, often making the Bulldogs’ post entry feeds to Frazier perilous.
“I thought we did a great job because we had me fronting it and Morgan or Nichole was on help-side ready to steal the pass, so that was good,” Jakaitis said.
The game largely was played in the half court, and Masoncup liked the way his team responded to the deliberate tempo.
“We’ve been able to play several different styles this year and we’ve been successful, whether it’s a win or a loss, [we’ve shown] that we can play a grind-it-out game, we can play in a 70-point game, we can zone you, we can man you,” Masoncup said. “So I think that bodes well for us in the future.”
North led, 36-30, going into the fourth quarter before a parade of Batavia fouls helped balloon the final score.
“I hate that at the end it looked the way it did because it was a pretty close game for most of it,” Jensen said. “We just couldn’t hit a whole lot of shots down the stretch.”
Rosencrants (game-high 10 rebounds) and Jakaitis scored 15 points apiece for North, while Davidson and Ashling Davern each added 10 points for the North Stars, who finished third in the UEC River. Bethany Orman chipped in eight points for fourth-place Batavia.
Both teams will turn their attention to girding for regionals next week. Jensen, in fact, had divided attention on Thursday night with an eye toward the Bulldogs’ regional semifinal foe, South Elgin.
“I actually didn’t see one second of our sophomore game because South Elgin and Bartlett played at 6, so I went over there and watched a half, had one of our boys basketball players film the rest of the game for me, and then we’ll go take a look at that,” Jensen said. “We’ve got all kinds of film on them, all kinds of ideas and tendencies that we’ll take a look at and then we’ll go on and prepare.”