Visiting St. Charles East ran, passed and shot with precision en route to a 64-46 nonconference victory over Oswego Tuesday night.
The Saints (15-11) blitzed Oswego with a 13-0 burst to close the first half and they outscored the Panthers 19-9 in the third quarter before coasting to the win. Oswego held a 19-18 edge after one quarter and forged a 27-23 advantage midway through the second stanza; but the Saints switched to a zone defense, crashed the boards and beat the Panthers down the floor.
“That’s our game,” said Saints senior Carly Pottle. “We’re not tall. We’re very short and quick, so running the floor is our game.”
Amanda Hilton began the 13-0 run with a fastbreak layup followed by a three-pointer before Hannah Nowling scored from the paint. Pottle fed Hilton for a layin and then scored on a long pass from Katie Claussner who stole the ball. Hilton ended the half with a steal and gimme for a 36-27 lead.
Pottle and Claussner put the game away in the third quarter when they combined to end the quarter with a 13-2 run. Pottle canned two triples and added a layup after a steal before Claussner hit two buckets in the lane and free throw. Claussner, a sophomore, scored a game-high 17 points including ten in the first quarter when she hit five of five from the floor. Pottle finished with 12 points and four assists.
“I was feeling really confident and I was on tonight,” said Claussner. “I just kept shooting and they kept falling. I got a lot of help from teammates.
“We weren’t really going to the boards in the first half, but we stepped it up, got some fastbreaks and steals that led to easy layups,” added Claussner.
Both teams were on fire in the opening quarter. The Panthers connected on seven of 11 from the floor and four of six from the charity stripe while the Saints made eight of 14 from the field, including two treys. Kelsey Nelson netted nine points in the frame for the Panthers hitting four of four from the floor. But the Panthers struggled the rest of the night hitting 10 of 31.
“In the first quarter we had a lot of fouls called against us, so we switched to the zone,” said Saints coach Laurie Drumtra. “It took us a little while to start playing it the way I wanted us to play it. They were getting way too many easy baskets, but we did a better job tightening up and cutting off that inside lane they were taking advantage of.”
Forcing the Panthers to pass around the perimeter, the Saints gained control of the boards and were able to transition to offense quickly. St. Charles connected on 28 of 50 from the field for the game, including six of ten from the beyond the arc in the first three quarters.
“We work on (transition) a lot because we’re not big, but we do have some speed,” Drumtra explained. “At this point in the season they feel very comfortable running with the ball. And that’s when we play really well.”
Sophomore Jordan Campbell led the Panthers with 12 points and seven rebounds. Hilton finished with 16 points and three assists while Kyra Washington and Anna Bartels scored eight points each off the bench.