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Aurora Central's Alex DeCraene, Gabi Alfaro and Rosary's Megan Conlin battle for a rebound on Wednesday, Jan. 09, 2013. | Donnell Collins~For Sun-Times Media
First-year Rosary girls basketball coach Jessie Wilcox is the kind of coach that likes to take things one game at a time, but she has been hearing about the Royals’ rivalry with Aurora Central Catholic for some time.
“I had people talking to me about it before I even got the job,” Wilcox said. “I knew it was very, very meaningful for these girls.”
Wilcox experienced her first showdown with ACC Wednesday, and the Royals rewarded her with a win.
Rosary held the Chargers to 12 second-half points and pulled away late for a 42-34 Suburban Christian Blue win.
“This is one of the biggest wins [we’ve had],” Rosary senior guard Madison Richmond said. “It felt amazing to beat them. We’ve been really looking forward to this game.”
Rosary (10-9 overall, 4-2 SCC Blue) got hot from the outside in the first half, hitting five three-pointers and two other long jump shots to take a 23-22 lead into the half. Then, in the second half, the Royals went to work inside. All seven of their second-half field goals were layups.
“I was happy that the girls were shooting because most of the time I have to prod them to take an outside shot,” Wilcox said. “But now that we had them pulled out, we knew we had to attack the basket. As soon as that happened, they had to get out of their zone and that worked for us.”
Meanwhile, Aurora Central Catholic (8-9, 1-5) struggled to put the ball in the basket in the second half. Playing without their top player, Lisa Rodriguez, who missed her third straight game due to a concussion, they shot 3-for-15 from the field in the second half. ACC cut the lead to 37-33 early in the fourth quarter but scored only one point the rest of the game.
“The shots were at the rim, so we have to make them,” ACC coach Mark Fitzgerald said. “They were there, so we’ve got to convert. Hats off to them, they played a great game. They have some seniors out there. Obviously we’re very young and we’re learning as we’re going. Most of the second half, I had four sophomores out there. That’s valuable experience. They’re anxious to improve. They don’t like losing.”
The Chargers were paced by 11 points from sophomore Katie Soris and 10 points from Alex Horton. Quincy Kellet led Rosary with 10 points off the bench, with Richmond and Karly Tate each scoring nine points.
“They put so much emphasis on this game and it really goes to heart for them,” Wilcox said. “I’m very proud of this team because it’s been up and down. It’s been a long time since we’ve beaten ACC. This is a big win for Rosary.”