WILMINGTON — For the Lady Irish basketball team, the opening round of the Wilmington Class 2A Regional proved to be an uplifting experience. After suffering several tough losses late in the season, Seneca jumped out early on Somonauk on Wednesday to secure a 48-29 victory over the Lady Bobcats.
"That's definitely the best defense we've played in a while," Seneca coach Barb Beck said after the game. "That was nice to see, and we also attacked the basket."
Both were true and both resulted in a 13-4 lead by Seneca at the end of the first quarter. Chelsie McCormick and Danielle Hauch each scored four points to help build that lead.
"At this point it's one and done so we knew that we had to come out and play our 'A' game," McCormick said. "We knew we had to come out and we knew we had to score."
McCormick is a 5-3 point guard while Hauch is a 5-8 forward.
"Coach Beck said that we needed to be patient tonight on offense and we were told to look for the ball in the post," Hauch said. "Coming into the regional we have a 0-0 record and we just want to push our way through. We won a regional game and we get to play tomorrow night."
Thursday is the championship game at 7:30 p.m. when Seneca takes on Aurora Christian. Aurora advanced by beating Reed-Custer 60-34.
Beck said that the quick start by her team was a great confident booster.
"We have lost a lot of heartbreakers lately ... jumping out early like that helped get the team some confidence," Beck said. "They were able to play a whole different game tonight because of it."
"We were patient tonight," McCormick said. "When we lost those tough games, it was because we were not patient."
Seneca took a 25-8 halftime lead as five different girls scored in the second quarter. It was 37-22 at the end of the third.
"We felt coming in that if we stopped their outside shooting and got the long rebounds we'd be fine. But if they had gotten hot, it would have been a whole different game. We were able to stop them from second efforts."
"The whole team did a good job of boxing out," Hauch confirmed. "We were getting those long rebounds. It was something that was emphasized."
Seneca held a 22-12 rebounding advantage on the night.
Hauch led Seneca in scoring with 14 points while McCormick added 11, though nine different Lady Irish players scored in the game.
"We were able to rest some legs tonight and get some other girls out on the court," Beck said.
Courtney Helms (7), Jacey Lamboley (6), Mallory Misener (3), Erin Hovious (2), Molly Novotney (2), Anna Baker (2) and Kayla Haines (1) all joined in on the scoring as everyone got in on the act.
"It's nice when everyone gets to play," McCormick said. "To see your friends out there and getting the chance to see how they can do. It's nice to see that because you don't see it a lot in the regular season."