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It seems like when Aurora Christian and Ottawa Marquette get together to play some girls basketball, an exciting game usually ensues.
Wednesday’s game was no exception, as the Eagles ran out to a nine-point lead midway through the fourth quarter but needed a couple of stops to withstand a late Marquette surge and get out with a 47-42 win.
“We’ve played them three times since I have been here and they all have been barnburner-type games,” Aurora Christian coach Jerry Tokars said. “It’s fun to play these types of games. The kids managed the things we wanted them to do and got it done.”
The Eagles used a few halftime adjustments to put more pressure on the Crusaders, who barraged them with three-pointers in the first half, hitting seven of their 11 shots from long range in the opening two quarters. Marquette scored 21 of its 25 first-half points from beyond the arc and owned a one-point lead (25-24) at the break.
Aurora Christian came out with more man pressure and took advantage of its size and rebounding ability in the second half. Marquette shot just 6-for-23 and turned the ball over 10 times, with the Eagles eventually owning a 34-19 advantage on the glass — paced by a game-high 17 rebounds from Natasha Brown.
“Our help defense was a lot better (in the second half),” said junior guard Alyssa Andersen, who led the way for ACHS with 18 points. “We played tighter on our girls and just played harder.”
Andersen scored nine points in the fourth, and her two free throws midway through the period capped a 13-4 run and gave the Eagles a 42-33 lead. The Crusaders responded with a 9-1 spurt which brought them to within one (43-42) after a Kendall Kauffmann trey with 1:12 to go.
But Andersen and Kirsten Madsen each hit a pair of free throws in the final 40 seconds as the Eagles improved to 7-4 on the year.
Taylor Eaves scored nine points for the Eagles, while Alex Hultine tossed in seven.
Kauffmann hit four threes and scored a game-high 19 for Marquette.