Senior guard Amanda Hilton naturally dominates the scoring for St. Charles East, but when she gets help, the Saints become very difficult to handle.
Hilton scored 23 points Saturday, the Saints had four more players in double figures and got huge contributions from virtually everyone on the glass and at the foul line to come away with a 72-68 victory in a road Upstate Eight River game over rival St. Charles North.
“We felt like we had control of the game the majority of the time,” Hilton said. “When it came down to the big plays, we made them.”
Hilton scored 11 of her 23 points in the second quarter, a time St. Charles North coach Sean Masoncup called critical. At the end, though, Katelyn Claussner, Hilton and Kyra Washington all made big plays to offset a late barrage by North’s Nichole Davidson, who had seven of her team-high 20 points in the fourth quarter.
“They weren’t going down easy, that’s for sure,” Hilton said. “They definitely had answers when we had big plays.
“It was great to see us bounce back from that.”
After trailing by nine earlier in the fourth quarter, Davidson hit a three-pointer and a 10-footer to get North within 64-62 with two minutes left. Following an East miss, Davidson’s three-point shot sailed long. North got a chance for the tie again but Ashley Davern rimmed off the front end of a one-and-one.
Then Claussner made a foul shot, missed the second and got a big rebound, feeding Washington for a layup. After a North turnover, Hilton made two free throws for a 69-62 lead.
“I think really, what the game was, with three minutes into the second quarter they made a little run, outscored us 10-1 and we got in foul trouble,” Masoncup said. “But the great thing about these kids is they never give up.
“We’ve been talking a lot about getting over the hump and learning how to win a game at the end. We’re still young.”
East (3-4, 2-0) had 13 points from MacKenzie Meadows and Claussner, 12 from Washington and 10 from Hannah Vitkus.
“That’s perfect, that’s what we need,” East coach Lori Drumtra said of the five players in double figures. “That’s what we need so they can’t stop one person.
“MacKenzie had a nice game. She gave us a little bit of a spark off the bench at the beginning of the game.”
North (2-5, 1-1) had 11 from Ashley Davern and nine from Morgan Rosencrants.