CALUMET TWP. | It may not have been how Bishop Noll envisioned the win coming before the game Saturday, but the Times No. 5 Warriors still cruised to a 61-32 win over River Forest for the Greater South Shore Conference tournament title.
"Early on, a couple calls didn't go in our favor," said coach Vanita Gary, whose team defended its crown. "It kind of sucked some of the energy out of the game."
Naomi House and Elena Sobilo each missed much of the first half with foul trouble. House tallied her second foul barely two minutes into the game. River Forest slowed the bleeding in the second quarter but Noll still lead 30-14 at the break.
House notched her fourth foul at the 5:35 mark of the third and went back to the bench.
"It changes our rhythm a bit (to have House and Sobilo out of the regular rotation)," Gary said. "Early foul calls can make you play a little more timid, a little less aggressive."
"Aggressive ball is our style. Anything other than that, it's an adjustment."
The pair still combined to score 29 points -- 17 for Sobilo and 12 for House. No other players from either team scored in double digits.
The Warriors (15-2) opened the contest with a 9-0 run and never looked back. The lead was 22-6 by the end of the first quarter and it never got any closer.
"We're proud to be a member of the GSSC and of course we wanted to defend the title," Gary said. "But our minds are on the work that must still be done."
R.F. (8-10) had won six of seven games coming into Saturday, including a double-overtime nail-biter over Lake Station in the GSSC semifinals. Coach Courtney Quigg said Kelly Easton took it upon herself to reassure her teammates in the locker room.
"I could worry about (losing momentum), but then I walk into the locker room and I hear a freshman saying 'Hey, this is a tough one to swallow but we're not going to let this carry into Thursday's game,'" Quigg said. "That's good leadership right there from a young player."