Katie Claussner is dangerous, but in a good way. A deft shooter, the 5-foot-5 sophomore from St. Charles East stuck Metea Valley with a pair of clutch three-pointers Thursday night in an Upstate crossover game lifting the Saints to a 68-61 victory.
Knotted at 57-57, Claussner buried a three-pointer from the wing with 1:30 to play in the game and canned another trey from the same spot at the :52 mark for a 63-59 edge. The Saints (16-11) iced the game with five makes from the charity stripe.
“I have to credit our team chemistry,” said Claussner. “We’re playing a lot better as a team and that’s helping me make my shots.”
“Katie has just been on fire; she’s playing with so much confidence ever since she scored 20 against Batavia,” said Saints coach Lori Drumtra. “She’s playing like the Katie we saw this summer. She’s shooting with confidence, she’s penetrating, she’s passing well and she’s doing a nice job on defense for somebody as small as she is.”
Claussner scored a team-high 20 points, including three triples in the fourth quarter and 17 points in the second half. Amanda Hilton added 19 points as she hit six 3-pointers. The Saints connected on 13 of 28 from beyond the arc.
“It was a team win for sure,” said Hilton. “We passed the ball very well and found the open girl.
“I am so proud of (Claussner),” Hilton added. “I knew she was hiding it somewhere, and it’s starting to come out. It’s great timing for post season. She’s a great player, and I’m so happy to be playing with her.”
The lead changed hands six times in the final quarter with three ties. Claussner ended the back and forth battle. Spotting up from the left wing, she swished the 20-footer and moments later hit nothing but the bottom of the net again.
Not to be overshadowed was the play of Metea Valley senior Lori Obendorf. Obendorf (6-foot-2) made her first 12 attempts from the field and 13 of 14 for the game. She finished with a game-high 27 points and eclipsed the 1,000 point mark in the second stanza when she netted 12 points.
But the Saints held her nine points in the second half when they collapsed the middle and denied her the ball. Jenny Voytell tossed in 23 points for the Mustangs.
“It’s a well-deserved milestone,” said Mustangs coach Kris Kalivas. “Lori is the type of kid that is very unselfish, and she is always putting the team first. We probably don’t get her the ball enough, but when we do she finishes with it.
“The great thing about this milestone is; one she was completely aware it was occurring and two she did it only three years of varsity,” added Kalivas.