WOODSTOCK – The Hurricanes dressed only eight players and almost let fatigue allow Saturday’s girls basketball conference opener to slip away.
The Hurricanes led Aurora Christian most of the contest, but a fourth-quarter explosion allowed the Eagles a chance at stealing the victory.
Down two with 6.4 seconds left, Aurora Christian elected to go for the win and Alex Hultine, the in-bounder after a timeout, got a wide open look at a 3, but her shot was short and the Hurricanes came away with a 58-55 Suburban Catholic Conference victory.
“We work hard in practice and we kept our motivation,” Alissa Melchionna said. “When we want something, we go and get it.”
The Hurricanes (4-1, 1-0 SCC) were without senior Katie Anderson and junior Katie McConville, who were gone with an illness and a vacation. Aurora Christian put up 24 points in the fourth.
“It was really exciting and we were able to pull in energy that we needed for the fourth quarter,” senior Shannon Wuensch said. “It was exciting to be able to push forward.”
It was the two dressed seniors who made the most impact for the Hurricanes. Wuensch hit two first-quarter 3-pointers to allow Marian Central to build its lead. Wuensch finished with a Hurricanes-high 21 points, and Melchionna provided strong defense and finished with 17 points.
“I wish I had five Alissas on the floor for defense and probably five Shannons for offense,” coach Jackie Budmayr said.
It started as a plodding first quarter as both teams were feeling each other out. Marian’s biggest lead in the first was 14-7 and a decent start.
“We kept talking,” Melchionna said. “Our coaches definitely have an impact on motivating us.”
Marian’s biggest lead was at 41-29 near the end of the third quarter. From there, Aurora Christian (4-3, 0-1 SCC) went on a 25-15 run in just about nine minutes to bring up its final shot attempt for the win. Alyssa Andersen was a big part of the offense for the Eagles, dribbling into the Hurricanes’ defense aggressively to finish with a game-high 22 points.
The Hurricanes attempted a half-court trapping defense to begin the game and match the Eagles’ speed and quickness.
“They hurt us inside and scored most of their points in the paint,” Budmayr said. “We come out here every game outsized, so it’s our quickness and our defense that we hang on with.”
Everyone got into the game for the Hurricanes as juniors Ellen Koscielniak (11 points) and Hannah Davis (five) provided some inside scoring.
“Game by game we break off a little more and more,” Wuensch said. “We just keep getting higher and rising to more success.”