As North Lawndale kept trying to cut into the lead, Elk Grove’s girls basketball showed team its composure in the second half.
That showed up on the scoreboard, too, as the Grenadiers posted their second win in the Elk Grove-Hoffman Estates tournament.
Led by 6-foot-4 sophomore center Amber Lindfors (14 points, 8 rebounds) and 5-6 senior guard Kelly Naughton (13 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals), Elk Grove pulled away to a 43-32 win on its own floor.
The Grenadiers, Hoffman Estates and Harlan are all 2-0 in the six-team tourney.
“I thought Amber played really well,” said Grens coach Kathie Swanson. “Offensively, she was aggressive. She saw she had the advantage inside and she capitalized.”
A 3-pointer by North Lawndale’s Shantell Wilson pulled the Phoenix to within 19-18 with 1:20 left in the first half.
But in the final minute, Naughton hit 2 free throws and Lindfors made one to give the Grens a 22-18 edge at the break.
Elk Grove carried the momentum into the third quarter.
Naughton pulled down a rebound and went coast-to-coast for a bank shot that sparked a 6-0 run, including 2 free throws by Lindfors and another coast-to-coast layup by Naughton.
“Coach Swanson told us we couldn’t play their game,” said Naughton, a Jacksonville State recruit. “She said we had to play our game. We had to stay composed. That’s what we needed to keep our lead and eventually extend it.”
A steal and layup by Nadia Miller got the Phoenix to within 32-27 but the Grens used 2 free throws from Taylor Brown and 2 more by Lindfors to increase the advantage to 9 points with less than three minutes.
“We definitely had a difficult time in the first quarter, “ Naughton said. “But we pulled through and started playing a lot better defense at the end. We are still learning a lot so it was good to pull together in this game.”
Junior guard/forward Melissa Solorio also hit the boards, collecting 7 rebounds with her 8 points.
“I thought Mel gave us some real good minutes,” Swanson added. “She battled inside and I don’t think we capitalized on her as much as should have.”
Also making offensive contributions for the winners were Kari Czeszewski and Diamond Boyd.
“I thought we did a good job at the end keeping our composure,” Swanson added. “But there are things we clearly have to work on.”
Wilson worked hard for the Phoenix and scored a team-high 14 points, including the 3-pointer.
“We weren’t disciplined enough defensively,” said North Lawndale coach Corey Morgan. “We did a little too much reaching. They (23-of-34) hit a ton of free throws. We’ve got a young group of kids.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.