Coming into Tuesday’s Suburban Christian crossover game against Rosary, Aurora Christian’s girls basketball team, particularly the seniors, were reminded what was at stake.
The Eagles had never beaten Rosary. But Alyssa Andersen and the rest of the seniors jumped out early to make sure that was going to change.
Christian led by nine points in the first quarter and never looked back, pulling away for a 56-42 win.
“It was usually pretty much a blowout,” Andersen said of previous meetings with Rosary. “We were pretty pumped to come out strong. It’s really exciting for us seniors especially, because it’s our last time playing them.”
Andersen took things into her own hands early as Christian (12-9) opened up a 19-10 first quarter lead. She scored 10 of the Eagles’ first 13 points.
“That’s pretty typical,” Aurora Christian coach Jerry Tokars said. “She gets in a zone in these types of games.”
Without the benefit of a deep bench, Rosary (9-10) was forced the chase the Eagles all night to try to claw back into the game. A three-pointer from Aubrey Fisher in the waning seconds of the first half cut the lead to 25-22.
The Royals also cut the lead to four on two occasions in the third quarter. But Christian had an answer. A 12-2 run, fueled by three-pointers from Sami Hultine and Kirsten Madsen, pushed the lead to 44-30. Then in the fourth, after Rosary cut the lead to 48-40, an 8-0 run started by an Andersen three-point play kept the Royals at bay.
“We don’t go all that deep,” Rosary coach Jessie Wilcox said. “If we have to expend all that energy just coming back, then it’s hard in the fourth quarter to pull it out.”
Rachel Choice scored 14 and Quincy Kellett added 12 points for Rosary, who beat Christian earlier this season.
“Earlier this season we beat this team, so we thought, hey, we can beat this team again,” Wilcox said. “I give Aurora Christian a lot of credit. They scouted us. They made changes. Their girls bought into the game plan and came out and did an amazing job.”
Andersen led all scorers with 19 for Christian. Madsen added 12 points and Natasha Brown hauled down 16 rebounds. The Eagles had lost five of six games coming into the game, so Tokars was pleased to see his team bounce back.
“We played like we are capable of playing, which we have been most of the year,” Tokars said. “We had a couple games where we had big leads and kind of faltered. This is our team. We’re back.”