Girls Basketball: Corrine Reed steadies St. Charles East past West Aurora

St. Charles East junior guard Corrine Reed. Photo by Jacob Bartelson.

AURORA – Beyond the stats, watching Corrine Reed compete during just a few possessions says plenty about the St. Charles East junior.

Toughness and rebounding are among the top of the list. Entering the Dec. 13 game against West Aurora, Reed was averaging 11.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists and two steals a game for the Saints.

“She can do it all. It’s great because we have a lot of flexibility, whether she’s bringing it up the floor or we have her in the post,” St. Charles East coach Katie Claussner said after a 43-36 win over West Aurora. “She’s very hard to guard and she brings that dimension to our team.

“(In practice), girls are excited to guard her. They get to compete against someone at a very high level and she brings it along with everyone else. I wasn’t here last year, but this year, I really noticed every single girl just giving it their all and really wanting to change what we’re doing and bring it on the floor.”

Reed popped in 10 points and had five rebounds to help close out the Saints’ ninth consecutive win. Aside from a season-opening loss to Prospect, St. Charles East (9-1, 3-0 DuKane Conference) has hit all the right notes this season.

“I think a big part of it is just we’re all willing to stick together no matter what,” Reed said. “At the end, you could tell we kind of got a little out of it. ... I think we were able to come back together as a team and say, ‘Hey, slow down.’ They have to foul at this point. Just being able to read the game and not just go, go, go 100% of the time, which is kind of what we’re used to – getting the rebound and just trying to push it. Now we have to set up the play and figure out what worked and what didn’t.”

Reed, for her part, loves corralling rebounds and pushing the pace.

“I’m not a big fan of setting up the offense and trying to (play slower),” Reed said. “You’re going to have a mismatch coming down the floor. (There’s) not going to be five people underneath the basket. ... I think going into college and trying to succeed right now (that pace) is going to be the biggest thing for me and going into college, you’re not always going to get a wide-open lane. You have to figure out how to play through contact and play with other people who can handle the ball better than you. There’s a lot more to it that goes into it than just putting your head down and going to the basket.”

St. Charles East took a 26-10 lead at the half and a 34-21 advantage into the final quarter. West Aurora (2-7, 2-2) pushed the Saints plenty down the stretch. Down 12, the Blackhawks went on a 9-0 run. West Aurora guard Nia Evans hit a layup and the ensuing free throw and Harmony Rush followed with a layup. Syncere Williams hit a 3-pointer to pull West Aurora to within 36-29 with 6:03 left. Shiane Johnson went 1-of-2 at the free-throw line and Evans hit a 3-pointer to pull the Blackhawks to within three.

Saints guard Addison Schilb stopped the momentum with a layup and Sydney Axelsen hit two free throws to build the St. Charles East lead back up to seven points with 53 seconds left. Evans hit another 3-pointer, but free throws from Lexi DiOrio and Reed down the stretch iced the game for the Saints.

St. Charles East also was paced by Alexis Maridis’ nine points and four rebounds and Axelson’s six points. DiOrio had five points.

“We’ve been working on the (defensive effort) the last couple days, just making sure our hands were up, we’re pulling boards down and we knew they were going to be a great offensive scoring team,” West Aurora coach Teresa Waldinger said. “So our main goal was just a defensive focus, which kind of hurt us in the first half with all of our turnovers, but defensively I was pretty proud of our effort overall.”

West Aurora was led by Evans’ nine points. Rush had eight points and three rebounds.

“I give so much credit to them because our talk at halftime really turned the tide for them,” Waldinger said. “We took a couple timeouts, had them execute a play, which they (executed) perfectly a couple different times. I’m so proud of their focus and their grit to finish the game and finish with our heads held high.”