OSWEGO — Just two nights removed from a tough 70-38 loss to Batavia at the Oswego Girls Basketball Holiday Classic, the Minooka Indians were able to get their mojo back, defeating Glenbard East 39-24. The win also snaps the overall four-game losing streak.
Determined to put the bad loss from Monday night behind them, the Indians came out strong on both offense and defense. Senior Larissa McClemen was on fire early for Minooka, scoring eight of her game high 15 points in the opening frame.
"We came out stronger than we usually do in the first quarter," McClemen said. "I was stronger with my post moves and we kept on trying to feed the ball to me inside, which helped me get rolling."
"It's been our strategy for a while, and some nights we're better at it," Liberatore said on getting the ball more to McClemen early in the game. "The way she's so active inside, if we can just get her more looks that's better for us."
Minooka led 13-5 going into the second quarter, where they continued to build on the lead. Although the second quarter was more balanced than the first, the Indians were able to take a 23-13 advantage going into the half.
The third quarter, however, is where things would really begin to shift. Minooka ratcheted up its defense, and it paid off. Glenbard East started the quarter with seven straight turnovers, causing Rams head coach Don Finnie to call two timeouts during that stretch.
"We did some press tonight, which forced a lot of turnovers. When we didn't press, though, we were just playing fundamentally sound defense," Liberatore said. "We were forcing them to make a bad pass or take a bad shot."
Although Minooka didn't capitalize offensively, the staggering defense helped give all the momentum in the game. In the third quarter alone, Glenbard East had 11 turnovers, the same amount both teams combined to score in the frame as well.
"We just pressured them more on defense in that quarter, and it really showed how much it affected them," McClemen said.
With a 32-15 lead going into the fourth, Minooka coasted, ultimately taking the 39-24 decision from the Rams.
The win puts the Indians at 4-8 overall on the season, but more importantly ends their four game losing streak they've been on. It's also a nice morale booster going into Saturday, where Minooka will play its final game of the tournament. Their opponent will be determined Thursday.
"It feels good to win a game," McClemen said. "Losing is not fun at all, and this win raises our confidence."
"We had a four game stretch there where the teams we lost to were a combined 37-5, so it wasn't like we were losing to the little sisters of the poor," Liberatore added. "It's good for everyone to win and I think these next three games are giving us a chance to come up on the positive end.'