South Elgin beats Streamwood in UEC quarterfinals

Zoie Lewis has fit right in at her new school, and South Elgin's girls basketball team is better for it.

Lewis, a sophomore transfer from Burlington Central, scored a game-high 15 points and grabbed 8 rebounds to help lead the 4th-seeded Storm (9-6) to a 51-28 victory over Streamwood (4-7) in Tuesday night's quarterfinal round of the Upstate Eight Conference tournament in South Elgin.

"The minute she walked in, her personality is so contagious," South Elgin coach Dan Mandernack said of Lewis. "She tries so hard. She's not a big but for us she has got to because of heart, hustle and muscle, yet she's a guard, she can hit 3s, and she can take people off the dribble.

"What a blessing to get her. Even more so, she's a better kid. I've coached football, basketball and baseball basically my whole life and she's one of a kind."

South Elgin exploded out of the gate, scoring the game's first 19 points, 11 of them coming from junior guard Ella Winterhalder, who canned her first three 3-point attempts and added a pair of free throws.

"It didn't quite have a regional feel to it, but we had a good crowd, and we came out really hot," said Mandernack. "We told the girls before the game, 'if you don't have that sense of urgency right away, we're going to be in a game.'"

The 5th-seeded Sabres snapped their cold spell on Samantha Demarco's layup midway through the opening quarter and pulled within 24-16 on a putback from senior Vivian Sumoski (4 points, 11 rebounds) with 4:15 remaining in the second period.

"We had a plan, but we didn't execute it," said Sabres coach George Rosner said of his team's slow start. "It was like opening up the dam. I felt like we were still doing some good things, but we couldn't make a basket.

"If we make a couple of those baskets and a few free throws, it's not 19 (point deficit) - it's a lot closer."

South Elgin finished the first half on an 11-0 run, ignited by Lewis' banked-in 3-pointer, to take a 35-16 halftime advantage.

"We hit the shot and I'm excited, and then they bank in a 3-pointer," said Rosner. "How could that happen?"

Lewis accounted for all 8 of her team's 3rd-quarter points, as the Storm carried a 43-21 lead into the final 8 minutes.

"I didn't play as much (at Burlington) as I am now here, but they still taught me a lot," said Lewis, who provides a spark for the Storm. "Energy is what is going to keep you going. You've got to keep your team up."

South Elgin visits top-seeded Bartlett Thursday night.

"We have a great opportunity to play our rival again (for a third time)," said Mandernack.

Sayuri Ishikawa led Streamwood with 8 points.

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