BATAVIA – They are far from strangers on the basketball court.
“I have been playing against her since we were in seventh grade,” St. Charles North senior guard Launi Chanthaboury said of her opposite number at Batavia, Erin Golden. “It’s really fun to go back and forth with her.”
“It’s been fun to play against her,” Golden said of Chanthaboury.
Tuesday night at Batavia in a DuKane Conference girls basketball game, the two seniors went toe-to-toe for the final time in the regular season.
Each player was magnificent for their respective teams, but in the end it was Chanthaboury, who led all players in the scoring department, who propelled the North Stars to a 58-54 victory.
“Launi Chanthaboury has ice in her veins,” St. Charles North coach Mike Tomczak said after his senior leader pumped in a game-high 25 points. “She is one of the best players in our conference. She is doing things I’m not sure we have seen in our program before.”
Time and again, when it appeared Batavia had seized the upper hand for good, Chanthaboury had a response.
Batavia (10-16, 7-6) led 27-24 at the break, largely courtesy of Golden, who knocked home a pair of 3-pointers in her 10-point second run.
The Bulldogs’ Claire Nazos’ back-to-back third-quarter 3-pointers, complemented by yet another Tessa Towers’ inside score for Batavia, left St. Charles North (18-11, 8-5) in a 37-30 hole.
But Chanthaboury drained one of her four 3-pointers to end the Batavia run.
Chanthaboury then had a magical start to the fourth quarter with two steals, two assists and a driving off-handed layup to suddenly give St. Charles North a 46-41 lead.
“I was trying to hit the shots for my team,” Chanthaboury said.
Golden was not finished, either.
Towers, who was virtually immovable in the paint, and Golden scored 17 points apiece to lead Batavia.
Golden hit the last of her 3-pointers to augment consecutive Towers’ inside scores to give Batavia a 48-46 lead with three minutes, 45 seconds to play.
“We have played enough games this year that I knew there was still a lot of time left,” Golden said.
Towers’ putback doubled the Bulldogs’ lead on the ensuing possession.
But Chanthaboury once against rose to the challenge with a 3-pointer only feet from the North Stars’ bench.
Tatum Settelmyer then followed with another St. Charles North 3-pointer for a 52-50 lead.
But the drama was only building.
The Bulldogs’ Alyssa Sarik connected on a mid-range jumper to tie the game, only to have Alyssa Hughes’ second 3-pointer of the game for St. Charles North give the North Stars the lead for good with 1:30 to play.
Tomczak rolled the dice – and it paid off handsomely – when he inserted Hughes, a freshman, in place of Talia Pellegrini, who scored 16 points, late in the fourth quarter.
“Batavia always seems to give us their best shot,” Tomczak said.