Girls Basketball: Bloom survives upset-minded Sandburg at Hillcrest
By Tony Baranek firstname.lastname@example.org December 26, 2012 11:22PM
Sandburg's Samantha Youngwirth (left) and Bloom Township's Katherine Strong battle for a loose ball during the Hillcrest Holiday Classic girls basketball tournament in Country Club Hills Wednesday, December 26, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 28, 2013 3:46PM
The many faces of Bloom were on full display Wednesday during the Blazing Trojans’ wild, 66-61 overtime victory over Sandburg in second round action at the Hillcrest Holiday Classic.
For nearly the entire first half, Bloom was a team tentative on offense and sluggish on defense as Sandburg raced and shot its way to a big halftime lead.
During the third quarter, the Blazing Trojans were a team that attacked on offense and was ferocious on defense in turning a 14-point deficit into a nine-point lead.
Then, after Sandburg showed some resilience of its own to roar back and force overtime, Bloom dominated the four-minute extra session.
To be sure, it was one crazy roller-coaster ride.
“Yes, it happens a little too often. But after coach yells at us, we pick it up,” said the Blazing Trojans’ Bria Gaines, who rallied from a six-point first half to finish with 32 points and 15 rebounds.
Katherine Strong added 11 points and Danielle King eight for No. 8 Bloom, which went to 2-0 for the day and improved to 10-4 on the season.
Sandburg (6-8) was led by Rachel Ruzevich (25 points), Samantha Youngwirth (15) and Brittney Munoz (8).
The Eagles, who beat Oak Forest in the morning’s first round with a flurry of three-pointers by Youngwirth, did that and more in the first half against Bloom.
Ruzevich, in particular, was effective in executing several backdoor layups against a flat-footed Bloom defense. It was s 32-18 at halftime.
“They were setting good screens and we weren’t talking,” Gaines said. “We left them open for their baskets.
“At halftime I talked to the team and said, ‘Ladies, we have to pick it up. We have to win this game. I’m not going home with a loss.’”
The Blazing Trojans were a different team in the third quarter. They were 10-of-14 from the field, while Gaines converted three three-point plays and scored 15 points. Stunningly, it was 45-36 heading into the fourth.
“I honestly have no idea (what happened),” Ruzevich said. “We were there, and then our defense just broke down a little bit in the third quarter and we let them get easy baskets. But we knew we had to fight back.”
Down 49-39 with five minutes remaining, the Eagles seemed to light up after Munoz hit a three. Back-to-back layups by Youngwirth during the final 31 seconds forced a 55-all tie. They had a chance to win it on a buzzer-beating three from the right corner by Ashley Youngwirth, but it glanced off the front of the rim.
The final act was all Bloom, as Gaines scored six points during an 8-0 run.
Stagg 53, Homewood-Flossmoor 37: Revi McMahon had 16 points, Casey McMahon 11 and Carrie Sinclair 10 as Stagg (8-2) jumped in front early and stayed there. Sydni Johnson scored 16 points and Jaiveonna Norris 10 for H-F (8-6).
Rich South 46, Lockport 30: Tierra Webb had 13 points and Dasia Evans 12 for Rich South (13-2), which raced to a 14-2 lead and never trailed. Paige Kooi netted eight points for Lockport (5-6).
Hillcrest 61, Tinley Park 24: Dana Gettis led Hillcrest (10-2) with 23 points. Caitlin Sudduth had 11 points for Tinley Park (10-5).
Oak Forest 53, Thornton 23: Kelly McEathron scored 19 points and Gianna Kuras and Maddie Baxa 10 each for Oak Forest (5-8).
Seton 48, T.F North 46: Seton improved to 8-6 behind Ebony Bailey (17 points) and Charlita Berry (10).
Harlan 53, Queen of Peace 47: Hannah Lipman scored 24 points, but Queen of Peace (7-8) dropped its second game of the day.
Phillips 46, Rich Central 43: Tayana Wilson (9 points) and Jalyse Chapman (8) were the leading scorers for Rich Central (2-14).
Bloom 63, Thornton 26: Bloom cruised behind 16 points by Bria Gaines, 12 by Katherine Strong and 10 by Danielle King. Briana Anthony scored 10 points for Thornton.
Sandburg 42, Oak Forest 33: Samantha Youngwirth had seven three-pointers and finished with 23 points, while Carly Katalinic had eight points for Sandburg. Kelly McEathron led Oak Forest with seven points.
Stagg 52, Queen of Peace 22: Casey McMahon lit up for a school-record eight three-pointers, finishing with 26 points and six steals while Revi McMahon chipped in 12 points for Stagg. Hannah Lipman had nine for Queen of Peace.
H-F 45, Harlan 16: Jaiveonna Norris, Chardae Greenlee and Sydni Johnson scored nine points each for H-F.
Lockport 51, T.F. North 36: Morgan VanKuiken and Naomi Mayes each poured in 16 points for Lockport. T.F. North was paced by Tyra Johnson (15 points).
Rich South 44, Seton 35: DeAsia Garrett (11 points) and Tierney Lockett (10) lifted Rich South. Ebony Bailey’s 13 points were tops for Seton.
Hillcrest 73, Phillips 48: Tanzania Sherrill (16 points), Dana Gettis (14) and Mariam Awoniyi (13) all hit double digits for Hillcrest.
Tinley Park 48, Rich Central 25: Diamond Beatty struck for 20 points and Samantha Alberto 12 for Tinley Park. Tayana Wilson had 12 for Rich Central.