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Girls basketball: South Elgin eliminates rival Elgin

South Elgin's LaurMcIntosh (left) CarFahey (right) double team Elgin's Maggie Powers Tuesday Streamwood. | Mary Beth Nolan~For Sun-Times Media

South Elgin's Laura McIntosh (left) and Cara Fahey (right) double team Elgin's Maggie Powers on Tuesday in Streamwood. | Mary Beth Nolan~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 12, 2013 11:39PM

For 2½ quarters in Tuesday’s Class 4A Streamwood Regional semifinals, third-seeded Elgin didn’t keep pace step for step with second-seeded South Elgin but certainly stayed within striking distance in case the Storm stumbled.

Then South Elgin’s press and overall depth started to take a toll that the Maroons could no longer pay. The Storm eventually pulled away for a 69-41 victory and advanced to Thursday’s regional title game against the top-seeded and host Sabres.

“We’ve just got to focus on coming out strong,” said South Elgin guard Savanah Uveges. “That’s the biggest thing because we sometimes fall into slumps.”

The Storm’s slump Tuesday, if there was one, came after it surged into a 21-12 lead at the end of the first quarter. Elgin then hung tough, cut the deficit to nine at 41-32 in the third quarter, before South Elgin closed the quarter and started the fourth quarter with a 12-2 surge to put away the win.

“We got after it,” Elgin coach Nick Bumbales said. “They bought into it. Initially we had issues with rebounding the first four or five possessions, then they decided to get going and go ahead and battle.

“Defensively, we had trouble with their high-low action and we lost a couple baskets there and their press hurt us.”

Kennede Miller scored a team-high 13 points, Uveges 12 points, and Anna Tracy 10 points to lead South Elgin (17-10), but five different players put the ball through the net during the decisive 12-2 run that covered the final 2:40 of the third quarter and lasted the first two minutes of the fourth quarter. It was much the same as in the first quarter, when six different players scored in the 21-12 surge that South Elgin protected the rest of the contest.

In all, 10 Storm players scored, and they did it without their three-point ace, Nell Wentling, who was home sick with the flu, according to coach Tim Prendergast.

“We feel like we’ve got girls who can come off the bench and score eight or nine points for us,” Prendergast said. “That’s always been an asset.”

The difference came after South Elgin quit letting Elgin beat the press so often and made shots more difficult to accomplish. Then the Maroons started gambling when down and South Elgin made them pay.

“Defensively, I thought we were giving up too many easy baskets and weren’t getting the turnover we thought we’d be able to get,” Prendergast said. “They did a nice job with their press break and were able to get some quick runouts against us.

“I thought we did a much better job the second half.”

Elgin had 11 points and nine rebounds from Abby Pierre-Louis and seven points from Kristin Tayag, and after a 9-20 season the Maroons look ahead to continuing to upgrade their program with 14 players on the varsity returning.

“This is the best Elgin team we’ve had in the past 10 years and now we need to be the best team Elgin has had in the past 15 or 20 years and win a tournament,” Bumbales said.

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