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Girls Basketball: Oak Lawn tops Sandburg, stays unbeaten

Updated: January 20, 2014 8:35AM

LaTondra Brooks says she loves playing defense even more than scoring.

The way she plays it, though, she usually gets the best of both worlds.

“We try to get a stop every possession. I like to steal the ball so we can run,” Brooks said after leading the Spartans to a 43-40 victory over Sandburg on Wednesday at the Oak Lawn Varsity Girls Holiday Tournament.

The 5-foot-6 guard twice created havoc defensively in the final minute and came away with the ball both times. The first steal resulted in a breakaway layup that put the Spartans in front 42-40. The second, with 11 seconds remaining, resulted in a foul. Brooks hit one of the two free throws.

Sandburg had a chance to tie and a look from three-point range, but the shot by Victoria Stavropoulos, who had hit a big three earlier in the period, caromed off the rim.

Brooks finished with 13 points and five steals, and Jannah Mahmoud (12 rebounds) and Brianna Markusic had nine points each as Oak Lawn continued its school record-setting start at 12-0.

Sandburg (7-3) was paced by Stavropoulos (12 points, 7 reboundsa), Sam Youngwirth (9 points) and Julia Ruzevich (8 points, 10 rebounds).

Oak Lawn will play Rich East at noon on Saturday to decide the tournament title.

It was a battle of contrasting styles, with Oak Lawn pounding the ball inside and Sandburg working the three-point line against Oak Lawn’s zone defense. The Eagles hit for seven three-pointers, the last coming from Stavropoulos early in the fourth quarter. Her swish made it 36-33, but Sandburg missed its next five shots.

The Spartans took advantage, scoring three times in four possessions on baskets by Brooks, Mahmoud and Markusic.

Sandburg scrapped back into a 40-40 tie with 2:11 remaining on two free throws by Kate Ruzevich and after getting the ball back worked nearly 45 seconds off the clock. But any chance to stall for a last shot was thwarted by Brooks’ defensive intensity.

“She’s a terrific player,” a smiling Stavropoulos said. “We definitely had to adjust our game to having someone as fast as her coming at the ball on the wings.

“They were really aggressive, but I really like games like that. It makes you work harder. It makes the loss sting a little bit more, but it makes the win feel really good if you can get it. In the end, they played a good game and we tried our best.”

De La Salle 48, Romeoville 44: Akilah Fletcher scored 17 points and Alesia Stewart 16 points as De La Salle improved to 8-4. Alexis Marin led the way for Romeoville (4-6) with 20 points.

Lincoln-Way North 62, Richards 34: Kayla Kieklak had 16 points, Lanie Hicks 14 and Kayle Horlacher 12 for Lincoln-Way North (7-3). Taylor Sonichsen (14 points) led the way for Richards (3-7).

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