The South Elgin girls basketball team Thursday night looked a bit like someone with cabin fever suddenly freed to roam the great outdoors.
In a sense, they were. The Storm were everywhere in the first half against St. Edward, forcing turnovers, running the floor, hitting jumpers and building a 17-point lead before coasting to a 62-48 homecourt, nonconference victory.
“We were excited to play,” South Elgin coach Tim Prendergast said. “We haven’t played in a while. It’s been cold. We haven’t had a lot of practices and we really got after it in practice the last couple days. They wanted to play. They were excited.
“Before the game I told the kids this is kind of the time of season where we’re either getting better or we’re getting worse, and which one is it?”
The resounding answer came in the form of 19 points from senior Savanah Uveges and 17 from senior Kennede Miller, including 13 by Uveges and nine by Miller in the first half to help South Elgin (10-6) build a 31-19 halftime lead.
Miller, who will play at Emory next year, popped outside for three three-pointers, while Uveges hit an assortment of drives and short jumpers. Both had a pair of buckets off steals and layups.
“My teammates did a good job of getting me open and we were doing a good job of setting screens,” Uveges said. “Everyone did a god job of distributing the ball.”
They helped offset a big effort by St. Edward’s Katie Swanson, who had a game-high 22 points.
“Swanson was a really good player,” Prendergast said. “That enabled them to get back in the game. But for the most part, I felt we kept them at bay. It never really got to the point where it was too close.”
Down 40-23 three minutes into the third quarter, St. Edward made it a bit uncomfortable for the Storm with a 10-1 run behind a three-point shot by Swanson and three-point play from Madelyn Spagnola.
The Green Wave (10-6) got to within 42-35, but then a pop-out 18-footer by Miller and a three-point play from Uveges helped re-establish a big lead starting the third quarter.
“We just knew that we had played one of the worst — well, the worst — half that we played all season long and we knew that we had to try to overcome some of the poor decisions that we were making and just try to refocus and get back into the positive things that have gotten us this far in the season,” St. Edward coach Michelle Dawson said of her team’s 16-13 edge in the third quarter.
Clarissa Ramos had 11 of her 13 points in the second half for St. Edward.
South Elgin, which benefited from 13 first-half St. Edward turnovers, had 10 players score.
“Turnovers really hurt us tonight,” Dawson said. “South Elgin was very aggressive on the ball and we didn’t handle their pressure.”