Created:Sunday, December 16, 2012 12:02 a.m.CDT
Updated:Sunday, December 16, 2012 12:07 a.m.CDT

Woodstock North reaches championship bracket

Woodstock North’s Sami Ahr (right) looks to pass around Richmond-Burton defender Hali Hoglund during a Northern Illinois Holiday Classic game Saturday in Richmond. Woodstock North won, 54-46. (Monica Maschak –

RICHMOND – Woodstock North’s girls basketball players were no drama queens Saturday.

The Thunder opened fast against Marian Central and Richmond-Burton, combining for 70 points in the first half of two Northern Illinois Holiday Classic games. In each case, North had matters under control by halftime.

“When we come out with fire and intensity, we get fast-break baskets and that sets the mood for the rest of the game,” Thunder forward Sami Ahr said.

North scored 39 points in the first half on its way to a 55-39 win against Marian at R-B’s Lou Ramirez Gymnasium. The Thunder then scored 31 points in the first half against R-B and won, 54-46, after leading by double digits most of the second half.

North (9-5 overall, 3-0 Pool D) advances to the championship bracket at McHenry and will face unbeaten Grayslake North at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the second semifinal.

Ahr hit her first five shots and was 7 of 9 in the first quarter against Marian (8-3, 2-1 and second in Pool D). She finished with 16 points in the game and scored 22 points against R-B, which both were game-high totals.

Point guard Aleecia Braun scored 10 of her 14 points to get the Thunder off to a fast start in the second game.

“Our (2-2-1 zone) defense is really explosive and a lot of teams have a hard time with it,” Braun said. “We took each game as it came to get to this spot and we feel pretty good.”

Marian was second in Pool D and R-B (6-6, 1-2) was third. The Rockets led, 14-12, late in the first quarter, but North took off in the second quarter and led, 31-22, at halftime.

“This morning (against Marian) we had energy throughout,” Thunder coach Mike Lewis said. “Playing as fast as I ask them to do, it’s hard to play two games in one day. It was good to see us come out fast this game.”

North gets a shot at Grayslake North, which beat the Thunder, 53-38, in a Fox Valley Conference Fox Division game Dec. 4.

“At times we’re doing some good things,” Lewis said. “We’re coming together. When we get our bench players playing their roles, we’re pretty good.”

Andrea Fox led R-B with 14 points, while Sam Boettjer added 12 and Alex Callanan had 11.

“Woodstock North is a really smart team,” Rockets coach Courtney LuDois said. “They don’t really have any big size advantage, but they’re very smart players. I felt like we only played two quarters today. One of these days, we’ll put a full game together.”

Marian defeated R-B on Friday, so it moves on to the second-place pool and plays Wauconda at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Woodstock.