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Girls basketball: Aurora Christian snaps out of funk

AurorChristian's AlyssAndersen scores fastbreak against defense St. Edward's RenRanallo. |  Mary Beth Nolan~For Sun-Times Media

Aurora Christian's Alyssa Andersen scores on a fastbreak against the defense of St. Edward's Rena Ranallo. | Mary Beth Nolan~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 10, 2013 5:49PM

After St. Edward’s girls basketball team closed the first half on a 13-2 run to take a 10-point lead in Tuesday’s Suburban Christian crossover game at Aurora Christian, Eagles coach Jerry Tokars didn’t recognize the team he had on the floor.

“I would say that the first half was a total team funk,” Tokars said. “There were so many fundamental things, it just wasn’t us. I told them, that’s not how we play. They must have listened.”

Indeed, Aurora Christian got the message in the second half. The Eagles opened the half on a 16-1 run, held the Green Wave to 13 second-half points and rallied for a 52-44 win.

Aurora Christian (13-6) took a brief 19-18 lead on a pair of driving layups from Alyssa Andersen with 5:03 left in the second quarter. After that, however, the rest of the half belonged to St. Edward (1-17). Six points from Rena Ranallo fueled the 13-2 run to end the half and stake St. Edward to a 31-21 lead at the break.

“Coach just told us we weren’t playing our game, and we knew we weren’t,” Andersen said. “I don’t know why we didn’t come out strong. We probably got a little too laid back, thinking we had it in the bag. We can’t play like that.”

After Tokars laid out his laundry list of first-half mishaps, the Eagles got back on track. It was defense and rebounding that helped them take back control of the game. Christian held a 17-7 rebounding edge in the third quarter and held St. Edward to 1-for-12 shooting from the field to turn a 10-point deficit into a 40-35 lead going into the fourth quarter.

“We didn’t take control of the boards like we needed to,” St. Edward coach Michelle Dawson said. “That’s where the game slipped away. They’re scrappy and they’re feisty and we didn’t bring our level of play up like we needed to.”

Aurora Christian managed to rally for the win despite shooting only 14-of-34 from the free throw line as a team, something Tokars said will be a priority in the next few practices. But he was happy with the fact that his team was aggressive enough to get that many free throw attempts.

“That’s always one of our main focuses, we want to get to the free throw line more than the other team,” Andersen said. “I know my free throws were completely off (6-for-16). I just wanted to get to the line again to make up for the ones I missed.”

Andersen led all scorers with 24 points for the Eagles. Natasha Brown grabbed 14 rebounds to help the Eagles win the rebounding battle. Ranallo paced the Green Wave with 22 points. Clarissa Ramos added 10 points, all in the first half.

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