Before the game, they bowed their heads in respect during a moment of silence for late Sandburg athletic director Bruce Scheidegger.
During the game, they held their heads up and played with the highest standard.
Sandburg’s 52-35 decision over Rich Central in Monday night’s Class 4A Lincoln-Way East Regional quarterfinal was more than just a playoff victory.
“We came out and played like he would have wanted us to play,” the Eagles’ Rachel Ruzevich said of Scheidegger. “We played Sandburg basketball, with so much energy and so much teamwork.”
Ruzevich led the way for the Eagles (16-11) with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Rachel Distor added 11 points, Carly Katalinic nine points and five rebounds and Samantha Youngwirth six points.
Sandburg will meet Bloom in Tuesday night’s semifinals.
It was the Eagles’ first return to the court since hearing the news about Scheidegger’s death Saturday in a car accident.
“It was a very somber day at Sandburg,” coach Chris Hellrung said. “Bruce meant a lot to a lot of the faculty and coaches and the students. He did so much for Sandburg. His loss is really going to hit Sandburg big.”
Scheidegger’s contributions to Sandburg athletics came to the forefront when it came to girls basketball, according to Katalinic.
“He was just such a great person,” she said. “He did so much for our school and our program.
“He was really concerned about getting girls basketball the respect it deserves. He got all of our home games moved to the big gym with the pep band. We appreciated that very much. He looked out for us.”
The Eagles led Monday’s game from start to finish. Katalinic struck first with a rebound and short jumper, sparking an 11-2 start.
Distor, a 5-foot-4 sophomore, had a productive first half, scoring nine points as the Eagles built a 30-8 lead at intermission.
Sandburg was its most superior on the boards, with the 5-8 Ruzevich providing a lot of the muscle.
“I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do,” Ruzevich said, smiling. “I was just there, and strong. I was in the right place at the right time, I guess.”
Rich Central (5-21) was led by Jalyse Chapman, who scored 13 points and pulled down five rebounds. Sade Reed added three three-pointers for nine points.
Lincoln-Way Central 58, Washington 12: Autumn Schultz scored 10 points, Candace Finnin nine points and Ashley Newton eight points as Lincoln-Way Central (10-15) advanced into Tuesday’s semifinal against Lincoln-Way East.