Racine Lutheran High School junior Caroline Strande scored 19 points in the first half of the Crusaders’ Metro Classic Conference game against Dominican on Tuesday night.
Turns out that wasn’t even her best half.
Strande added another 22 to her total after the break, scoring a school-record 41 points, as the undefeated Crusaders broke open a close game and rolled to an 84-56 win at Racine Lutheran.
It was the 12th win in a row for the Crusaders (12-0, 6-0 MCC), but it didn’t come easy, at least not in the first 18 minutes. Lutheran seemed sluggish and held a slim 33-30 lead at halftime.
“I felt in the first half we did not execute our game plan very well and were not playing our game,” Lutheran coach Steve Shaffer said.
After making some adjustments, the Crusaders scored 51 points in the second half and pulled away by playing tough defense.
“We really slowed down in the second half on offense and played more pressure defense which really helped us get a lot of easy baskets,” Shaffer said.
Strande had 13 field goals, including two 3-pointers, and made 13 of 14 free throws. She also grabbed added nine rebounds and had six assists. Morgann Gardner added 16 points and had 10 rebounds, while Alexis Peterson scored 10.
HORLICK 72, FRANKLIN 61: The one-two punch of Olivia Pitrof and Jordann Ellison gave the Rebels an impressive Southeast Conference victory at Horlick.
According to Horlick coach Ambrial Sanders, the victory for the Rebels (9-3, 4-2 SEC) was their first over the perennially powerful Sabers (8-4, 4-2 SEC) since 1996.
The game was tied 33-33 at halftime. In the second half, Pitrof and Ellison combined for 25 points and guided the Rebels to victory.
“(Pitrof and Ellison) have been playing together for years,” Sanders said. “They’re like peanut butter and jelly. Those two are our motor.”
Pitrof, a junior, had a game-high 29 points and 14 rebounds. Ellison, a senior guard, had 14 points, as well as a team-leading 12 assists and five steals. Also for the Rebels, Destinee White had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
“They all played for each other,” Sanders said. “They were pumped to pick up this win.”
CASE 69, PARK 39: The Eagles utilized a strong start and never looked back to secure a Southeast Conference victory at Case, their fifth win in a row after a 1-4 start.
The Eagles (6-4, 4-2 SEC) opened up with a 17-2 run, led 39-15 at halftime and rolled to a win. Sophomore guard Ariyah Brooks posted a double-double with a game-high 23 points and 11 rebounds.
“She is one of the better players in our conference,” Booker said. “We play off of her a lot.”
Also for Case, K’Mya Oliver added 12 points, while Bre Jones and Zahriah Nwanosike each had 10.
The Panthers (4-7, 1-4 SEC) were led in scoring by senior forward Jade Griffin, who scored 14.
“Where she goes, we go,” said Park coach Carey Palacios. “When she has a solid night we follow. When she is on we’re a tough team. They just outplayed us tonight.”
PRAIRIE 61, ST. CATHERINE’S 41: Brooke Foster and Jolie Larson combined to score 37 points as the Lady Hawks won their fifth game in a row, a Metro Classic Conference victory at Prairie.
Foster had five rebounds and five assists, while Larson made 6 of 7 shots from the floor and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Hawks (9-3, 4-2 MCC), who led 34-20 at half.
The Lady Hawks last lost on Dec. 15, a 45-32 defeat to Shoreland Lutheran, and have won eight of their last nine games.
“We’re getting a little better every game,” said Prairie coach Alan Mills. “We’re getting harder to guard and we have bought into playing defense.”
Abby Decker added seven points and eight rebounds.
For the Angels (2-11, 0-7 MCC), Sadie Gilbert scored 12 points and had five rebounds.
JEFFERSON 53, BURLINGTON 32: The Demons struggled to score and lost a nonconference game at Jefferson.
Burlington (0-14) scored 14 points in the first half and trailed 25-14. Cora Anderson and Caitlyn Matson each scored seven points.
LAKE COUNTY, Ill. 44, UNION GROVE CHRISTIAN 35: Katie Emond’s big game of 24 points and 25 rebounds couldn’t stop the Lady Cougars from losing a nonconference game at Union Grove.
After trailing most of the game, the Lady Cougars (1-9) cut their deficit to five points with a few minutes left. But Lake County made several late free throws to seal the win.