Rule sisters lead Libertyville to blowout win

Libertyville got its chance to grow and to rule.

The Wildcats played for the first time in the annual “Grow the Game” girls hoops tournament this year.

Libertyville (14-3) made the most of its first opportunity. Led by Kate and Rachel Rule, the Wildcats rolled past Marist 62-33 Friday at Glenbard West in Glen Ellyn.

“It is super special to play in this tournament,” said Kate Rule, who finished with 18 points.

“We get to play some competitive teams and see some teams that we don't usually play. And to have an all-female crew officiate our game was super cool.”

The Showcase was founded four years ago to highlight girls basketball and head coaches who are women. It also is officiated by all-female crews.

It began with with 14 teams and has grown to 43 teams from four states.

Libertyville was invited to compete in the showcase thanks to the friendship that has developed over the years with Wildcats coach Greg Peterson and New Trier coach and showcase co-founder Teri Rodgers.

With that spirit in mind, Peterson stepped aside for post-game interviews and handed them off to long-time assistant and former Libertyville head coach Amy Holtsford.

“I love the message and I love the mission,” Holtsford said. “I think it has to be said. It is personal and important to me. To see the growth of the game and to see girls and women taking control and having leadership roles.”

Libertyville made it look easy in its win over tradition state power Marist forcing 24 turnovers while the Rules combined for 40 points.

The Wildcats used a pressuring man-to-man defense that forced 5 quick turnovers while Marist missed its first four field goal attempts. On the offensive end, Rachel Rule was nearly unstoppable. Libertyville scored the first 13 points of the game with Rachel Rule accounting for 9 of those.

And Rachel Rule wasn't done as Libertyville built a 20-7 lead after the first quarter.

After knocking down 4-of-5 shots in the first quarter, Rachel Rule banged down 5-of-6 in the second quarter. She finished the half with 20 points as Libertyville broke the game open with a 41-17 lead at the half.

“I don't always shoot like this,” said Rachel Rule, who finished 10-of-13 from the field.

“But I owe my teammates because they always set me up and we run plays for my threes and layups.”

Rachel Rule said she was excited to play in the Showcase.

“It means so much to play in this,” Rachel Rule said. “I am really honored to represent our team. I have wanted to be part of this for a long time.”

Libertyville played without Madison Sears and Paige Bradford, who were both out with injuries. Lily Fisher had 9 points while Avery Maddux, Maddy Kopala and Sophia Cesnovar each had four points.

“We look really good when we can hit our three-point shots,” Holtsford said. “We were shooting the really well and got off to a nice lead. And we knew what we needed to do defensively.”

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